The Bulls Saturday kept the good times rolling with a dominating 118-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
The Bulls moved to 2-0 and face Brooklyn on the road Monday. The Pacers are 1-2.
The Bulls were led by Doug McDermott with 23 points with five three pointers. Jimmy Butler had 16 and Dwyane Wade 14. Rajon Rondo had 13 assists. The Bulls had a 30-14 edge in fast break points, shot 52.3 percent and outrebounded Indiana 47-33. The Bulls had 34 assists on 45 baskets.
It was a brilliant all around game from the Bulls with slick passing and ball movement, aggressive defense and strong contributions from the bench that saw the Bulls run up their largest halftime lead in three years, 21 points, and lead by double figures since early in the second quarter as the starters sat out the fourth quarter. The Bulls led by as much as 29 and Indiana only narrowed in the last minutes. There were highlights galore with lob dunks, multiple fast breaks and first time appearances from rookies Denzel Valentine and Paul Zipser.
The Bulls did a good job in the first quarter in slowing Indiana’s fast break game. They Bulls got strong production from Robin Lopez and Taj Gibson inside with six each in the first quarter for a 24-20 lead. The Bulls held a 15-11 rebounding margin in the quarter with a highlight Rondo lob dunk pass to Butler, Rondo with five first quarter assists. The Bulls second unit, which struggled some in the opener, was brilliant to start the second quarter, igniting a 23-4 run that led to a 62-41 Bulls halftime lead. McDermott finished a pair of fast breaks, running one 94 feet on his own.
Cristiano Felicio, Nikola Mirotic and McDermott ran one and Rondo looking ahead found Butler behind the defense for another, the Bulls with a staggering 23-4 fast break points margin in the first half. Rondo had 11 assists in the first half and Wade again led the plus/minus with a plus-13 in the first half. The Bulls had 20 assists on 26 baskets in the half. The Bulls continued to pile on after halftime, first with Wade’s steal giving the Bulls a 68-46 lead and then giving way to Robin Lopez beating the young Pacers down court for another 50 foot Rondo pass for a score. The Bulls went into the fourth quarter leading 92-67 with five players in double figure scoring and Rondo with 13 assists. The Bulls were shooting 57.4 percent through three quarters and had made all 17 of their free throws. They were a plus-13 in rebounds through three.