There was one common word the Chicago Bulls (1-2) had for the Indiana Pacers (4-0) in their early morning shoot-around on Wednesday: Great.
“They are a great team,” said Bulls guard Derrick Rose. “They have a great young-nucleus, just like we do. It should be a good game.”
Derrick Rose used the word to describe the Pacers, so did forward Joakim Noah and Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau. So you can tell despite the fact there probably isn’t much love between the two Central Division foes that face-off tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the first time in the 2013-14 season, Chicago definitely has respect for their blue-and-gold opponents.
“They are playing their game,” said Thibodeau as to what stands out about the Pacers undefeated start.
“The shot-blocking, I think (Paul) George has gone to another level. Stephenson is playing at a higher level. Hibbert is playing his role perfectly. And when you look at a guy like West, you can’t understate or overstate how important he is to this team in his leadership, his toughness. And then when you have a guy like C.J. Watson to step in when Hill goes out, they are good, they are talented, and they are deep. Scola presents a number of problems, their bench is tough.”
Indiana is coming off a late-night 99-91 road-victory over Detroit on Tuesday night, one which once-again saw stellar-play from both Paul George and Roy Hibbert. George has continued to improve from his All-Star season last year, putting up an impressive 31 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Hibbert had himself a great defensive game, gathering 10 rebounds and raising his league-leading block total to 21 with seven last night.
And even though Hibbert and the rest of the Pacers has been a stalwart so far in this young season, Derrick Rose doesn’t seem too scared to challenge him in the paint.
“I’m going to attack,” said Rose. “I’m going to make him do his job. He is going to have to beat my shot five or six times. It’s not going to stop me from going into the lane and trying to get fouled.”
Joakim Noah, perhaps not Roy Hibbert’s favorite player to go against, said something similar about playing against number-55, but in a little bit more colorful way.
“You know we have to try to be aggressive,” said Noah with a smile. “Try to front his big-a** as much as possible and make him run-around.”
Chicago faces-off against the Pacers tonight with the game slated for a 7:00 pm start.
Quick Derrick Rose HIts
Derrick Rose noted the Bulls don’t have to necessarily watch much game-film on the Pacers, because they already know the team so well… The Association has told Rose that he cannot where the tape he has been wearing on his neck during the contest tonight… Rose noted that he didn’t expect to start-off a little slow to the season following his injury, saying “Hell nah, I thought I was going to pick right back up. But I know this is just the beginning stage and trust me, I could care less about it. I’m not going to change the way I play or think about my shots, I know that I put too much work into my game. I know it is going to come to me.”