- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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How it happened: Luol Deng had 20 points and six rebounds to lead the Bulls to a victory they badly wanted. Derrick Rose added 13 points and nine assists while Joakim Noah had another big night scoring nine points and grabbing 17 rebounds. The biggest key for the Bulls on this night was the play of the Bench Mob. Led by Ronnie Brewer and John Lucas III, the group combined for 46 points and 25 rebounds.
What it means: Rose and his teammates wanted to send the Pacers a message for the way they celebrated after a win in the United Center in late January -- and that's exactly what they did. The Bulls absolutely dominated the second half. After starting the game off 1-for-10, Rose hit several shots early in the third quarter that changed the momentum of the game. Deng struggled from the floor at times as well, but he also made several big shots in the third. The Bulls' depth was the ultimate backbreaker for Indiana on this night. They had no answer for all the weapons Tom Thibodeau used throughout the night and it showed. Thibodeau will try to spin this as being “just another game” for his team, but his players felt differently and it showed in the final 24 minutes.
Stats of the night: The Bulls outscored the Pacers 33-13 in the third quarter. ... The Bulls out-rebounded the Pacers 60-32. ... The Bulls’ starters scored 46 points and the Bench Mob scored 46.
Bold play of the game: Deng made back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the third quarter, the second of which came with 4:56 left, giving the Bulls a 13-point lead.
What's next: The Bulls have a day off before facing the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. They'll be looking for their eighth win in a row.
2dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
2dJason McCallum, ESPN Stats & Info