Bulls use strong second to propel them to victory over Pacers
In the first quarter of Saturday’s game at the United Center, the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers pretty much traded baskets. So while the Bulls made some aggressive plays, the Pacers more often than not were able to counter with a bucket of their own, making the Bulls’ work all the less impressive.
But once the second quarter hit, the game really shifted in Chicago’s favor.
In the second quarter, head coach Fred Hoiberg sent out a lineup of Michael Carter-Williams, Dwyane Wade, Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic and Cristiano Felicio. Mirotic’s 3-pointer started the Bulls’ 38-point quarter, but it was their play in transition that made the difference.
It started with Wade running out in transition, drawing a foul on his layup attempt. Then the quick transition play became contagious: Felicio, McDermott and Mirotic each got their share of layups in transition. That play contributed to the Bulls’ 16-0 run that gave them a double-digit lead.
Minutes after that run, Chicago switched up its lineup back, and they were able to feed off the momentum from the unit that started the second quarter. First, Gibson dunked. Then Jimmy Butler and Isaiah Canaan both made layups off a Rondo assist to end a 7-0 run that gave the Bulls a 56-34 lead.
Come halftime, the Bulls had built up a 62-41 lead.
Despite such a strong second quarter, Chicago didn’t show many signs of slowing down afterwards. The Bulls put together another 30-point quarter, scoring just that in the third quarter. Wade made Chicago’s first bucket of the second half, but Paul George followed up with a 3-pointer and then a steal. But Wade avenged his team, getting a steal of his own, taking the ball from George.
For the rest of the game, neither George nor his teammates could gets any sort of stop to counter the lead the Bulls built up in the second quarter. Interestingly enough, however, the Pacers gradually improved throughout the game: Indiana scored 20 in the first quarter, 21 in the second quarter, 26 in the third quarter and 34 points in the fourth quarter to outscore the Bulls’ 26 points. But that just wasn’t enough without any defensive stops.
At the 9:15 mark of the final period, Chicago had already hit 100 points off of a McDermott 3-pointer, giving the Bulls a 102-73 lead.
The Bulls are now 2-0 and will play their next game Monday against the Brooklyn Nets.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.