Richard Hamilton made his debut for the Chicago Bulls’ tonight in the Bulls’ 93-85 pre-season victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Hamilton got the start at shooting guard, and it looks like the rotation that we saw tonight is probably what the set rotation that Tom Thibodeau will play going into the season. In his first game with the Bulls, Hamilton seemed to be the glue that let the Bulls click offensively.
It cannot be stressed enough how well Richard Hamilton fit in with the Bulls offensively. It started early, with Hamilton hitting some open jump shots, the shots we had become too accustomed to Keith Bogans either passing up or missing. Once he established himself as a threat early on, the Pacers began giving more attention to Hamilton’s off the ball movement, which created more space for his teammates to operate.
In addition to that, Hamilton proved to be a good finisher on the fast break, and he made a bunch of brilliant passes that gave the Bulls some easy scores. All in all, Hamilton finished with 13 points on 6-12 shooting, six assists, and four rebounds, leading the Bulls in +/- at +18.
Perhaps no one benefited more from the addition of Hamilton than Carlos Boozer, who had a breakout game with 24 points and seven rebounds, to help put away thoughts of his bad game in his first pre-season game. The extra spacing really helped Boozer out, and Boozer was able to get some good looks with the added ball movement that Hamilton provided.
The Bulls also got 14 points from Luol Deng and a 12 point and 9 assist performance from Derrick Rose, who just looked to facilitate the offense after coming back from some early foul trouble.
The Pacers were led by Tyler Hansborough, who had 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Overall, this pre-season can only be seen as a major success for the Bulls. They won both their games against a Pacers team that should be a playoff team, not by having any type of crazy offensive performances, but instead flexing their defensive muscles and holding the Pacers to an average of only 85.5 points in the two games.
This should be a good sign for the Bulls going forward into the shortened season. When teams start getting tired because of the fast paced schedule, offenses will start breaking down, and the teams that have consistently good defenses (or the Super Friends, ala Miami) should be in a good position to succeed in the shortened season.