Game 30: Chicago Bulls (18-12) defeat Indiana Pacers (18-13), 102-100 (OT)
December 30, 2015
United Center – Chicago
The “Pau Gasol lob to Jimmy Butler” has become a staple in the Bulls’ offense this season, and that play proved to be most important in the Bulls’ 102-100 overtime win over the Pacers Wednesday night.
With 3.7 seconds left in overtime and the game tied at 100, the Bulls needed a basket to prevent yet another multiple overtime game. Doug McDermott held the ball on the right sideline and threw the inbounds pass to Gasol at the top of the key, who then released a lob up toward the rim for a cutting Butler to get just the right grasp on the ball for a game-winning tip.
The game had ended just as it had began: as a close one.
The Bulls and Pacers put up an even fight in the first quarter, as both teams scored 21 points. But it was in the second quarter that the Bulls made a run, and, just like it was in Monday night’s game, the bench led the effort.
Aaron Brooks and Bobby Portis combined for 17 of the Bulls’ 29 second-quarter points to assist in their team’s 50-40 halftime lead over the Pacers. The Bulls got the job done on the offensive end as well, limiting the Pacers to 19 points in the second.
The game turned in favor of the Pacers in the following quarter, though. They opened the third with an 11-6 run that helped fuel their 22-point quarter and result in just a 16-point quarter for the Bulls.
The Pacers kept up that pace in the fourth and had their best offensive period of the night, scoring 29 points, but it was only enough to tie the game and force overtime, which ended up not working in their favor.
Derrick Rose missed the overtime thriller with right hamstring tendinitis.
Player of the Game
Butler bounced back from his five-point game Monday night with 28 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block in Wednesday night’s victory. He went 8-for-16 from the field and made 11-of-13 free throws. He also tipped in the game-winning shot, and that’s pretty important, too.
Gasol, too, deserves credit for that game-winner, as he made a perfect lob pass to Butler. Portis also scored in double figures for the second-straight game: Portis finished the night with 16 points, seven rebounds, one steal and one block.
This season’s Bulls’ bench is starting to become worthy of being dubbed “The Bench Mob” with the way they’ve been playing. In the win over the Pacers, the Bulls’ second unit outscored the Pacers’ bench 52-31 — similar to how they performed in Monday’s win over the Raptors, but, unlike that game, the bench accounted for over half of the points.
This win for the Bulls would have come so much easier had it not been for their 21 turnovers. And it’s not just that they committed nine more turnovers than the opposing team, but it’s also that those 21 turnovers resulted in 27 points for the Pacers.
Matchup of the Game Result
Jimmy Butler versus Paul George
George had 19 points on 7-for-20 shooting and also added five rebounds, four assists and a whopping four steals. He, however, also committed a team-high five turnovers (It would’ve been a game-high if not for Aaron Brooks‘ six turnovers). Meanwhile, Butler had 28 points — which actually trailed Brooks’ game-high 29 points — and scored the game-winning shot.
The Bulls will kick off the New Year when they face the New York Knicks Friday night at 7 p.m. central at the United Center.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.