CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls' 92-72 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night was personal for Derrick Rose, who had difficulty shaking the mental image he of the Pacers celebrating on the United Center floor the last time the teams met.
"Yeah, that's something that I don't forget," Rose said. " I don't know what they call it, but in my eyes it looked like they were celebrating ... [In an] NBA game, say, ‘bye’ to the other opponent, then usually walk off, celebrate in the locker room. But it looked like they were celebrating."
Rose dismissed the explanation by some Pacers players that they were celebrating the same way any team would after a big win.
"Yes, they did," Rose said. "Yes, they did. I saw it."
Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer said that the Jan. 25 loss and extra celebration by the Pacers was something that he and his teammates discussed before the game.
"We don't take it lightly when a team beats and celebrates on our court," Boozer said. "We don't forget too easily either. We talked about all those things before the game ... I just remember them jumping around and celebrating and we don't like that. We don't like anybody celebrating at our expense."
Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer, who had discussed after the loss how upsetting it was to hear the Pacers celebrating through the locker room walls at the United Center, was ready to move on.
"I think that shows a sign of respect that -- what we've done last year and what we've done this year -- that teams come into our homecourt and [we have] a bull’s-eye on our chest. So when teams come in and they beat us, it's a hard-fought fight and they know they've really done something.
“After a tough game like that and hearing them, I think we were kind of in our feelings. Mad that we lost. Mad that they were celebrating. But it's good this season, the NBA, you have the opportunity to play guys again multiple times. You don't ever want to have that feeling again and it was good to have the performance we had tonight for our team and for our fans."
Pacers head coach Frank Vogel praised the Bulls, who outrebounded the Pacers 60-32, after the game.
"Give credit to the Bulls," Vogel said. "They won all the hustle stats tonight. They kicked our butts on the glass. They just took control in that third quarter, especially from the 3-point line. Our guys also had a bad shooting night."
Not only do the Bulls now have the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference at the moment, they also gave the Pacers some payback in the process.
"We know what's at stake and we know they're a tough team," Joakim Noah said. "They have a lot of tough players. They play very well. But we know that if we come ready we're a tough team too."
While the Bulls were certainly happy with the win, they understand that the Pacers are still a young and upcoming team that they'll be seeing a lot in the future, and potentially in the playoffs.
"They're a good team where last time we played them, they beat us here and now we've just got to deal with them," Rose said. "Where they put up a fight every time we play them. We're used to it and I think it's making us better as a team."