With the Bulls producing some runaway home wins lately, there hasn’t been much to add to the game story.
Wednesday’s 120-110 victory over the Pacers was interesting in the first half. The Bulls ran to a 35-12 lead in the first quarter while the first Indiana player to touch the ball with two hands generally fired up a quick shot.
Then the Pacers suddenly knocked down 8 of 11 shots from 3-point range, all from Danny Granger, Brandon Rush and Luther Head, to tie the score at 52-52. The Bulls took control early in the third quarter and the second half was rather routine, with the highlight a nice alley-oop dunk by Derrick Rose off a pass from Jannero Pargo.
DENG LIKES TRADES
Here’s one interesting postgame quote. Luol Deng was asked about the tougher stretch of schedule coming up. Besides Saturday’s rematch at Indiana, the Bulls have five challenging home games coming up against Portland, Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas and Utah.
"We really feel like the trades were great for us," forward Luol Deng said. "The schedule gets tough, but we have confidence in the team we have. When we play our best, I feel like we can play with anybody."
Speaking of the trades, here are a couple of statistical facts. Through four games with his new team, Flip Murray is averaging 13.0 points.
He’s doing a nice job of replacing John Salmons. At the time of the trade, Salmons was averaging 12.7 points and the two players shot an identical 41.9 percent from the field with the Bulls.
Hakim Warrick didn’t play much on Wednesday. But rookie Taj Gibson had another impressive performance with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He outplayed 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert and veteran Troy Murphy.
In six games since the all-star break, Gibson has averaged 12.8 points and 11.2 rebounds. That helps explain why the Bulls have done a nice job of playing through Joakim Noah’s injury.
By the way, when asked about the possibility of sitting out longer, Noah said that’s not in his plans. He’s definitely still struggling with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but I thought Noah looked a little more like his old self against the Pacers. Tough to tell in just seven minutes, though.
Don’t know if the Bulls can finish the week by beating Portland at home Friday and then sweeping the season series against Indiana on Saturday.
If they do, they’ll have a good chance of passing Toronto for fifth place in the East. Chris Bosh has missed the last three games with a sprained ankle and the Raptors’ next three games are against Cleveland, followed by Oklahoma City and Houston on the road.