By CLIFF BRUNT
Derrick Rose just sent a message to the Eastern Conference.
The superstar scored 13 points in 20 minutes to help the Chicago Bulls defeat the Indiana Pacers 82-76 on Saturday night in the preseason opener for both teams.
Rose, who missed all of last season after tearing his left ACL during the 2012 playoffs, made 5 of 12 shots and 3 of 5 free throws.
Indiana’s Danny Granger returned after missing most of last season with an injured left knee. He scored six points on 2-for-10 shooting.
The game had an atmosphere that bordered on playoff quality. If you thought for one second that this wasn’t a rivalry, think again. Noah was talking trash from the bench throughout the game, and play occasionally got chippy.
Other notable things:
-The Pacers made just 33 percent of their shots.
-Indiana was outrebounded 56-38, even though Joakim Noah sat out with a right groin strain.
-Roy Hibbert got off to a good start but made just 4 of 14 shots. He had 11 points and nine rebounds but still has the tendency to go for layups when a dunk makes more sense. With his added bulk, he should be able to impose his will more offensively.
-Granger played 29 minutes, which was more than expected.
-Solomon Hill made 1 of 5 shots and missed a layup when he got caught halfway between a layup and a dunk.
-Luis Scola scored seven points.
-Lance Stephenson made 1 of 2 shots in 24 minutes. He didn’t look to shoot as often as usual.
-David West’s mid-range jumper is still deadly.
-Paul George scored 10 points in the third quarter. He finished with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting.
-George Hill did a nice job running the team. He had eight points and six assists.
Here is video of Rose talking after the game.