Rapid Reaction: Bulls 89, Pacers 77

March, 24, 2014
Mar 24
9:25
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned an 89-77 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night at the United Center.

How it happened: After playing poorly Friday night and calling out the Pacers for "flopping," Taj Gibson responded in a major way, scoring 23 points, grabbing eight rebounds and playing effective defense on the blocks all night. Mike Dunleavy had a solid game, adding 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Paul George led the Pacers with 21 points, but it wasn't enough as the Bulls played one of their best defensive games of the season.

What it means: The Bulls are not afraid of the Pacers. They enjoy the physical style of play that comes when they face Indiana, and they remain confident they can beat the Pacers in a seven-game series. Coach Tom Thibodeau and his team did not like the way they performed down the stretch Friday night in Indianapolis -- and they were determined to fix their mistakes and finish this one off. They did that Monday night, by being the aggressor in the second half and making big plays when they needed them.

Hits: Joakim Noah had 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but it was his defense on Roy Hibbert that was most impressive. Hibbert was 0-for-5 from the field and scored just three points.

Misses: Bulls rookie Tony Snell was 0-for-6 from the field.

Stat of the night: The Bulls outscored the Pacers 31-22 in the third quarter. They trailed 34-33 at the half.

What's next: The Bulls have three days off. They'll take on the visiting Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5