Friday, October 26 at 7:00 PM at the Joyce Center (South Bend, IN)
Game Rewind (Preseason): IND 90, CHI 97
by Scott Agness
In the final tune-up before the regular season, the Pacers faced division-rival Chicago at the Joyce Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The Bulls, who won both pre-season games against the Pacers last season, earned the win 97-90 in front of a sold-out crowd.
Roy Hibbert scored the Pacers first six points but a quick 17-6 start by Chicago forced Frank Vogel to call timeout. The Bulls came out with more energy and it was evident right away. Danny Granger was hobbling a bit after a missed layup, struggling to push down on his injured left knee. Ben Hansbrough, playing in his first game at his alma mater in two years, first checked in five minutes into the game.
Neither team made a second quarter push, allowing the Pacers to remain within striking distance. A couple of free-throws from David West cut the lead to single digits for the first time since the first period and the Bulls led 52-43 at the break.
Coach Vogel opened the fourth quarter with the second unit, a group that includes three newcomers—Augustin, Green and Mahinmi. Early on, Augustin connected with Green for an impressive alley-oop, his second of the night. The Bulls extended their lead to as many as 15, but the Pacers came within three points with 69 seconds to go as David West completed an and-one. The Bulls came back, though, when Richard Hamilton hit a jumper and then third-string point guard Nate Robinson buried a shot just inside the arc. The Pacers didn’t come any closer.
The Bulls outhustled the Pacers and were crisp in the final pre-season game. Richard Hamilton scored the first bucket of the game and the Bulls never trailed. They played their typical hard-nosed defense under Coach Thibodeau, won the 50-50 loose balls, and the game.
Inside the Numbers
Six Pacers scored in double-figures, led by Roy Hibbert’s 17. David West added 16, eight coming from the free-throw line.
The Pacers failed to make an outside shot in the first half and were just 1-of-10 for the game.
Indiana was stellar at the free-throw, as they have been all pre-season, going 17-21 (81%).
Paul George didn’t have a great shooting night, going 3-for-9, but he was the only Pacer with double-digit rebounds (10).
It was a good evening for both starting point guards. D.J. Augustin recorded a double-double: 10 points and 13 assists with only 1 turnover. Nate Robinson, who started for injured Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich, finished with a game-high 21 points, 8 assists and 1 turnover.
"I thought that the Bulls beat us to the punch early. They hurt us on the glass most of the game, but particularly in the first half. The game really just came down to them making a couple of shots late and us missing a couple of shots late." – Frank Vogel on tonight
"We still have not seen our whole team together yet, George Hill has been out and Danny Granger has only gotten limited minutes. So we have to keep that in perspective and there is always a downside of them not being used to the timing and having not played together, but it is a long season and I am confident that we will come together." – Frank Vogel on the preseason
"I think that we play well together when the second unit is in there. I think that they play with last year’s bench's energy and intensity and the effort picks up when they are in the game. Last year’s bench struggled to score, this group is scoring the basketball at a really high rate, both inside and outside, and they are doing really well on both ends." – Vogel on the second unit
"Coach didn’t really say anything special to me before the game. This is something special for me, but at the end of the day this is a business trip for us. We’re on the road playing the Chicago Bulls and we’re trying to win and get ready for the season." – Ben Hansbrough on playing at ND
"I thought he played very well. In the second quarter, he was aggressive... I thought defensively, he was much better. That’s all I want him to concentrate. Learn, improve, come in the next day and improve some more." – Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau on Marquis Teague
Stat of the Game
Chicago owned the battle-of-the-boards, 50-37 (13 offensive), and scored 24 second-chance points.
- Kirk Hinrich missed the game with a groin injury, so third-string point guard Nate Robinson started in his place.
- Marquis Teague out of Pike High School had an assist and a rebound against his hometown team.
- Joakim Noah and Nate Robinson of the Bulls were each assessed technical fouls.
- The game was sold-out (9,149).
- George Hill (hip pointer) wasn’t dressed and Orlando Johnson, Jeff Pendergraph Miles Plumlee, and Sam Young did not see the court.
- Indiana went 4-3 in the preseason.
- Irish Coach Mike Brey joined the Pacers telecast during the game. On Ben Hansbrough, his former player: “There is a will and a drive about this young man.”
- After shoot around, Indiana players and staff toured Notre Dame, including the historic football stadium.
Indiana opens the regular season on Halloween—Wed. Oct. 31 in Toronto. All games this season are televised and can be heard on the Pacers Radio Network. This Sunday, the Pacers are hosting the FanJam from 4-7 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. FanJam is free and the first 4,000 fans receive a free Pacers acrylic schedule mug as well as a voucher for a hot dog, bag of chips and a Pepsi product courtesy of CNO Financial Group.
The first home game is Saturday, November 3rd against the Sacramento Kings. Tickets for Opening Night are on sale now.