The defense looked sharp, Derrick Rose found his footing early and the Chicago Bulls turned in a textbook Thibodeau-era victory Wednesday night, upending the Detroit Pistons, 96-81. Rose finished with 22 points in 22 minutes during his first appearance at United Center since undergoing ACL surgery last year.
Meanwhile, it appears we have a new young wing to champion for in Chicago:
Oh man I'm starting the "Tony Snell Needs More Minutes Club" right now. Who's in?— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) October 17, 2013
Tony Snell, the Bulls' first-round pick, recorded 12 points, four assists and three steals in 25 minutes of action. With his length and shooting potential -- he was 2-of-4 from beyond the arc Wednesday -- the Bulls may have a quick replacement for Jimmy Butler as the designated young wing who rarely plays, but could probably handle minutes if needed.
To finish, here's D-Rose doing D-Rose stuff because no, Andre Drummond, you didn't get there quick enough:
Mavericks 92, Pacers 85
Powered by a vintage 18-point, 11-rebound effort from Shawn Marion, the Mavericks earned a road win Wednesday, but the play of Monta Ellis may be most noteworthy for Dallas. Over 24 minutes, the typically shot-happy Ellis turned in a well-rounded performance with 13 points, nine assists, three steals and just two turnovers.
While the Mavs added a number of point guards during the summer, Ellis emerging as a legitimate playmaking option would be huge for the team. Over the past few years, he's devolved into a one-dimensional perimeter scorer, but a new environment full of veterans could be just what Ellis needs.
The news for Indiana wasn't so positive:
Danny Granger has a strained left calf, and his return is questionable.— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) October 16, 2013
Granger didn't return, leaving Indiana undermanned on a night without Paul George, Roy Hibbert, David West or George Hill. Luckily, it doesn't appear the forward's injury is serious, which is good news after two of the team's new additions, Luis Scola and Chris Copeland, combined to score 25 points on 8-of-27 shooting.
Raptors 99, Celtics 97
Holding off a late rally from Boston's reserves, Toronto continued its preseason success on Wednesday night. Behind a strong game from second-year guard Terrence Ross, who finished with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, the Raptors are now 4-1 in exhibition games this month.
Two of those points from Ross came on this big slam in the first half:
For the Celtics, the silver lining from Wednesday's game comes from rookie Kelly Olynyk, who played quite well coming off the bench. In 26 minutes before fouling out, Olynyk recorded 13 points (on 6-of-7 shooting) and nine rebounds.
The Raptors' starters spent much of this game on the bench. Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson all played 13 minutes or less, while the Celtics had 10 different guys play 20-plus minutes, including all five starters.
Rockets 108, Magic 104
A matchup against the up-and-coming Magic was pretty kind to James Harden on Wednesday night as Houston coasted to victory. The Rockets' star shooting guard finished with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 18 minutes, including this sweet buzzer-beater to end the first quarter:
Harden didn't get much help with Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons all sitting out, but 15 three-pointers boosted the Rockets on a night when little else was working. Dwight Howard finished with eight points, four rebounds and three blocks in 18 minutes, getting clobbered on at least one play by Nikola Vucevic.
Trail Blazers 99, Jazz 92
The Trail Blazers got their second preseason win, but the real story from Wednesday's game was Jazz big man Enes Kanter. Positioned for a breakout season after the departures of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson during the offseason, Kanter delivered 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting to lead the team in scoring.
Despite solid numbers from Kanter and the team's other young players -- Gordon Hayward added 20 points and six assists, Derrick Favors was active with 17 rebounds -- Utah couldn't beat a Blazers team that kept rotation players in throughout the fourth quarter.
Including sixth man Mo Williams, the Blazers had five key players go for at least 26 minutes in Wednesday's game. Damian Lillard led the team in scoring with 22 points, while LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points and four rebounds.