Originally written on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 1/27/12

Indiana announced to Chicago that the Central Division is going to be a fight. By coming into the United Center and handing the Bulls their first home loss in a 95-90 defeat Wednesday, the Pacers not only bounced back from their own first home defeat but put the presumptive division champions on notice. Indiana is going to be a team to be reckoned with this year and are much different than the team Chicago unceremoniously ousted from last year's Playoffs.

They may have sent a message to Chicago a little louder than intended. And that might bring out the worst in the Bulls the next time they see the Pacers -- that would be March 5 in Chicago.

Derrick Rose took some offense to the way the Pacers celebrated the regular season victory in the narrow hallways of the United Center on Wednesday. And Rose is vowing revenge of sorts:

"I'll never forget how they celebrated just from winning this game," Rose told reporters. "I can't wait to play them again."

Obviously it will be a while before Rose can unleash his inner Michael Jordan and seek revenge for this perceived slight.

The real question is what does this game mean for the Central Division race? The Bulls hold a 2.5 game lead as the Pacers continue to try and keep pace. Nobody is probably thinking that the Bulls are going to lose that division or one of the top four seeds that come with it. Even with Luol Deng out, Chicago is a seasoned team with one of the best players in the league leading them and one of the best coaches designing suffocating defensive schemes.

Chicago is the top team in the East right now. And many would argue that the Eastern Conference comes down to the Bulls and the Heat (they play Sunday on ABC).

What probably concerns Chicago most was the 10-point lead the team lost to Indiana that night. That is probably what led to the whooping and hollering.

Of course, these are the kind of wins that probably put a fire under a team and cause a redoubling of focus during a long (or in this case, rushed) regular season. Championship teams usually react with a blowout after losses of this type. That should make the Andrew Bogut-less Milwaukee Bucks very worried tonight at the United Center (even with the Bulls looking ahead to the Heat on Sunday, did I mention that game yet?).

Unfortunately for the NBA, March 5 is a long way from now. Rose will have plenty of time to seethe.

Derrick Rose might have another MVP performance tonight and the Bulls are entering a big week to cement themselves as Eastern Conference favorites (if they are not that already). Don't make him angry right now. You probably won't like Derrick Rose when he is angry.


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