In the waning moments of Saturday’s 110-94 Bulls win over the Pacers at the United Center, Carlos Boozer and Indiana reserve forward Chris Copeland were ejected after shoving each other near halfcourt.
Boozer was surprised at the ejection, which occurred with 21.9 seconds left in the game.
“He just said, ‘We’re not going to have any fighting.’ I said, ‘We weren’t fighting. We were just talking,’” Boozer recounted, when asked what explanation official Marc Davis gave to him. “It’s so bizarre that they could just kick you out for talking. Nobody threw a punch, nobody really pushed anybody. I’ve never been thrown out for anything so little. To be thrown out, you’d think throw a punch or push somebody on their butt. I was disappointed for how they did that.
“I’ve been in the league for 12 years and I came in the league when it was real physical, when fights were really fights and now, nobody fights. So at the end of the day, nobody’s going to fight. So why are you kicking people out? For me, that was just bizarre,” he continued. “Come on, really? I mean, really? We’re just sitting there, talking at halfcourt. It’s not worth being kicked out, in my opinion.”
Deng outplays Pacers’ George in battle of All-Star small forwards
Pacers swingman Paul George has received kudos as a budding superstar—a designation Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau bestowed upon him before the contest—for his strong start to the campaign, a carryover from his stellar play in last season’s playoffs. But in Saturday’s game, fellow All-Star Luol Deng got the best of him, as the longest-tenured Bulls player scored 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds, while holding George to 12 points on 3-for-14 shooting.
“I thought our defense was good early. We forced him into tough shots,” Deng explained. “He’s a great player. He just had an off night. Defensively, I was locked in. The help was good.”
Teammate Derrick Rose chimed in: “[Deng] played tough on [George], too, making all his shots hard. George is a guy, he’s a streaky shooter and he made sure that, really the whole team was just watching him and making them really go to their second and third option on the floor, instead of him having isolations and really driving. It helped us out a lot."
Pacers not getting national-TV recognition?
Prior to Saturday’s matchup, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel was asked about Indiana’s presence on national television this season.
“I don’t really put too much in that. I understand the business and the bigger markets are going to get bigger games,” he said. “The quote-unquote superstars are going to get national-television exposure. I never take offense to that sort of thing. It’s controlled by television ratings."
It was a diplomatic answer, as the Pacers, only months removed from taking Miami to seven games in the conference finals, only make 10 national-television appearances—as opposed to 24 by the Bulls, for instance—the 12th-most in the league.