Rapid Reaction: Pacers 97, Bulls 92
March, 3, 2013
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com
INDIANAPOLIS -- Let's take a quick look at how the Indiana Pacers earned a hard-fought 97-92 win over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
How it happened: David West had another big game against the Bulls, scoring 31 points and pulling down seven rebounds. Pacers center Roy Hibbert added 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Pacers made just enough plays at the end to pick up the win. Marco Belinelli led the Bulls with 20 points in 45 minutes. Luol Deng added 15 points and five rebounds of his own.
What it means: With Derrick Rose looking on from the bench for the first time this season, the Bulls gave one of their most spirited efforts of the season. Playing without Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson and Rip Hamilton, the Bulls grinded this game out all the way until the end. Aside from Belinelli's solid play, Joakim Noah had another big night for the Bulls in racking up 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. What will make Tom Thibodeau most proud about this game is the way his reserves played in large minutes. Nazr Mohammed, Vladimir Radmanovic and Marquis Teague got extended minutes in the first half -- the first time that's happened all season. They responded by keeping the game close and giving the starters a needed break. Their performance not only will give them more confidence down the line, it may inspire the rest of their teammates, including Rose. The former MVP spent most of game jumping up and down in support of his teammates and screamed out words of encouragement; his competitive juices were definitely flowing.
Hits: Jimmy Butler had his best game in several weeks by posting 20 points and four rebounds. He played with the type of spark that Thibodeau loves to see.
Misses: Carlos Boozer did not have a good night. He had just six points and was 3-for-9 from the field in 17 minutes.
Stat of the night: This was the first game Rose watched from the bench since tearing his ACL in April.
What's next: The Bulls have a couple days off before heading to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Wednesday night.