The Chicago Bulls won a close (87-84) game against the Indiana Pacers, finally. All season the Pacers have dominated in their matchup against the Bulls, but with more help from bench players, the Bulls were able to get the victory.
Joakim Noah did not play due to his lingering plantar fasciitis foot injury. Nazr Mohammed, who had 11 points and 7 rebounds, started in his place. Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng were the two starters that led the Bulls to the home victory. Boozer had 18 points (8/15 FG) and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes of playing time. With Joakim’s absence, Boozer stepped up and became a presence down low. Luol Deng finished the game with 20 points and 7 rebounds. Deng shot 50% (7/14) from the field in 36 minutes of playing time. Taj Gibson had 11 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Nate Robinson and Daequan Cook both had 9 points a piece off the bench. Daequan played 17 minutes and had several great playmaking moments. He also showed some hustle, diving for the loose ball, and crashing into the cameramen. Luckily, he only had a bruised thigh and should be fine. Coach Tom Thibodeau showed some trust in his bench players by giving them so many minutes, which is quite rare for him.
Chicago outscored the Indiana Pacers in the paint, 42-30. The Bulls did have 3 more turnovers than the Pacers, but having 10 turnovers isn’t bad considering that that’s kind of low for the Bulls. Indiana was held to 38.5% from the field, while the Bulls shot 43.2%. After the first quarter, in which the Pacers outscored the Bulls 22-16, the Bulls outscored the Pacers in the last three quarters. This win lifted the Bulls 6 games over .500. The Bulls are in the 6th spot, but only a half game behind the Atlanta Hawks. Tonight, the Minnesota Timberwolves will face the Bulls at 7pm ET. As of right now, Joakim Noah is not expected to play.