Bulls’ struggles continue in 111-94 loss to Pacers
Just one week prior to Saturday’s game at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, the Chicago Bulls found themselves facing the Indiana Pacers on their homecourt at the United Center. The Bulls came away with the 118-101 victory thanks to great offensive play and an active defense. Neither of those were found in the Bulls’ play Saturday night, though, ultimately leading to their 111-94 loss to the Pacers.
To start the game, Dwyane Wade turned the ball over after sending a pass intended for Jimmy Butler out of bounds. Including that, the Bulls then went on to commit three turnovers in their first four possessions, allowing the Pacers to open the game with a 15-6 lead.
The game didn’t get much better for Chicago from there.
The Bulls struggled on both ends of the court. They didn’t get defensive stops, and they failed to play efficiently on offense, as it was stagnant. But things got especially bad within the last three minutes of the quarter: The Pacers went on a 9-0 run that was only broken when Doug McDermott made the second of his pair of free throws.
By the end of the first quarter, the Bulls had scored 15 points, the same amount the Pacers accumulated within the first three and a half minutes of the game. Chicago’s seven first-quarter turnovers contributed to the low-scoring period.
But as if the seven turnovers weren’t enough, the Bulls opened the second quarter with back-to-back turnovers. Wade’s shot was blocked by Al Jefferson, and then Isaiah Canaan committed a turnover of his own. The Pacers really got going from there. The score quickly escalated from there.
Coming into the quarter, the Pacers had the upper hand, leading the Bulls 31-15. With 9:30 left in the second quarter, Indiana had just over twice as many Chicago had, owning a 40-19 lead. Things weren’t all bad for the Bulls that quarter, though.
The Bulls managed to score 28 points after having just 15 points to start with; however, the Pacers had 31 second-quarter points. So Chicago was essentially trading baskets with Indiana. The Bulls were not getting defensive stops or putting together runs of their own. Rather, they actually went scoreless in the last 1:44 of the first half.
Both team struggled to start the third quarter, as the Bulls and Pacers went scoreless for just over two minutes. Surprisingly enough, the Bulls broke the drought first thanks to a Butler layup, but it didn’t get the team going. It was just more of the same overall struggles.
At the 1:42 mark of the third, Paul George kicked a basketball, hoping it would go into the stanchion. Instead, it went into the crowd and hit a woman in the face. Despite it being an accident, George was still ejected. But even then, the Bulls couldn’t take advantage of a George-less Pacers team.
The Bulls found some fluidity in the fourth quarter when the bench was in to play garbage time. Portis scored 10 straight points to begin the period, allowing the Bulls to cut what was once a 27-point deficit down to 20. But at that point it was far too late.
Chicago managed to outscore Indiana 30-23 in the final quarter, the only time they did so.
The Bulls are now 3-3 and will return to action Monday night against the Orlando Magic.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.