Bulls come up short in Indiana

Bulls fall to 39-24 on the season

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By Sam Smith | 3.06.2015 | 8:31 p.m. CT

The Indiana Pacers Friday pulled away from the Bulls early in the fourth quarter for a 98-84 victory.

The Bulls got within 77-74 midway through the fourth, but never could offer a serious threat against a rugged Pacers’ defense as Indiana pulled away down the stretch.

The Bulls were led by 18 points and 10 rebounds from Pau Gsol for his league best 41st double/double. Doug McDermott scored a career high 16 points. Mike Dunleavy added 14 points and nine rebounds. The Pacers got 16 points from Solomon Hill. The Bulls shot 36 percent.

The Bulls fell to 39-24 and 19-11 on the road as they head to San Antonio for a national TV game Sunday. The Pacers, winners of 10 of 12 are 27-34 as they continue to move in on one of the final Eastern Conference playoff spots.

The Bulls got off to a slow start coming off the thrilling victory over Oklahoma City Thursday before the substitutions energized the lineup to get the Bulls within 23-20 after one. Then it was rookie Doug McDermott with his best stretch of the season, scoring 10 of the Bulls first 12 points of the second quarter as the Bulls pushed ahead 34-32 in the sort of mud wrestling games these teams favor. The Pacers then burrowed inside and got to the free throw line to pull ahead 45-42 at halftime.

Observations:

1. Doug McDermott finally broke out even as Joakim Noah was predicting after Thursday’s win with a 12-point second quarter one six of 10 shooting with both jump shots and stronger finishes at the basket.

2. Pau Gasol’s double/double march continued as he was almost there by halftime with 10 points and seven rebounds. His offensive reliably on the inside even when he fades for jumpers continues to provide vital diversity for the Bulls offense.

3. The Bulls like to consider themselves a grind-it-out team, but few are more methodical than the Pacers in making everything difficult in holding the Bulls under 40 percent shooting.