A great game from Jimmy Butler helped the Chicago Bulls survive against the Indiana Pacers en route to a 96-95 win, and losing Derrick Rose with another (minor) injury for a short time shouldn’t be too problematic.
Rose left the game with six minutes remaining due to a sprained left ankle, which could mean a few games out but Rose himself thinks he can be back in no time, maybe having the experience with much tougher injuries to not get too excited about a small one like this. Rose had a good night with 23 points and six assists before his premature exit. The Bulls dropped a five point lead and seemed a bit confused without him in the final minutes, but that was more of an in-game thing.
In any case, Butler was there to make sure it didn’t end with a home loss. He blocked Paul George on the Pacers’ final attempt to tie the game, finishing the game with 17 points and a couple of blocks after a rough night for the frontcourt. The only other player in double figures was Doug McDermott scoring 11 points, while Tony Snell started at small forward. Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol combined to score just 11 points while shooting 22.2% from the field.
Considering all that happened (Bulls – Pacers games tend to be uglified) it’s almost a wonder the Bulls won, improving to 7-3. But despite not running as smoothly as some hoped they would, the foundation Fred Hoiberg had to work with is strong, even if it’s going to take time turning this into a much more efficient and easy to watch offensive machine, if it happens at all.
The Pacers dropped to 6-5 with the loss, led by Paul George with 26 points, followed by Monta Ellis with 20 points and C.J. Miles scoring 19. Other than them, the offense was incompetent, as missing George Hill and Rodney Stuckey made things a lot more difficult to cope with.