Sunday, March 3rd at 8:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: IND 97, CHI 92
by Scott Agness | March 3, 2013 at 11:58 PM
The Pacers ignored the fact that the Chicago Bulls just played last night and after plane problems, didn't arrive in town until late this morning. The Pacers wouldn't overlook their division rivals, who were without a few of their core players. They understood it was going to be a defensive clash and likely go down to the wire. Despite a late charge, the Pacers never relinquished the lead and hung on for a 97-92 victory, their third straight over the Bulls this season.
The Pacers (38-22) set the tone early, shooting 60 percent in the first stanza. They traded the lead for the first four minutes, and took the lead for good on a George Hill three-pointer, for three of his 10 points in the quarter.
Down four key players – Derrick Rose, Richard Hamilton, Kirk Hinrich, and Taj Gibson – because of injuries, Bulls (34-26) head coach Tom Thibodeau turned to the end of his bench for most of the second. They accounted for 17 of the Bulls’ 19 points in the quarter, including a season-high seven points from Nazr Mohammed, to keep the game within single digits at intermission, 47-40.
Related: Hibbert Regaining All-Star Form »
David West scored nine of his 31 points in the third, where he played all 12 minutes. Although undermanned, the Bulls refused to lie down. Led by Marco Belinelli’s 10 points in the third, the Bulls used a 10-4 run to close the quarter strong and pull within three points, 69-66.
Bulls forward Luol Deng scored their first six points of the final quarter, including a short jumper to tie the game at 72. Then, Hill continued his brilliance for the Pacers and scored eight straight points to hold off the Bulls’ initial charge.
With less than a minute to go, up three, the Pacers got a big defensive stand and forced a shot clock violation. At the other end, West corralled his own miss and laid it in to put the Pacers up five with 32.2 seconds remaining. Joakim Noah, defended well by West, missed a shot in the lane. Hill grabbed the board and made one of two free-throws.
Related: Vogel Gets Win No. 100 »
Out of the timeout, Jimmy Butler connected on a three-pointer, which brought the Bulls back to within three. Hill went back to the charity stripe, but this time, he missed both tries, which would have put the Pacers ahead by two possessions. Instead, with 13.3 seconds left and the ball, Belinelli fired up a three-pointer but it was no good. They’d get one last try after the ball went out of bounds but after a few deflections, West pulled the ball in tight to seal the five-point win.
The Pacers have won the season series with the Bulls for the first time since the 2003-04 season and now have in effect, a five-game lead on them. The win is also particularly meaningful because it’s Frank Vogel’s 100th (.609) in a span of two and a half years.
Inside the Numbers
David West scored a game-high 31 points, which includes a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. In the last four games, he’s scored 20+ three times and averaged 24 points per game. George Hill nearly posted a perfect game, finishing with 21 points (on 6-of-6 shooting, 3-for-3 from outside) six rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
Roy Hibbert connected on half of his shots (7-of-14) and finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 20 points off the bench. Marco Belinelli also had 20; Joakim Noah contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds. Nazr Mohammed’s seven points were a season-high.
The Pacers’ bench accounted for a season-low eight points, and was outscored by 23.
Until tonight, Sunday was the only day the Pacers hadn't recorded a win on this season (0-3, all by double digits).
Stat of the Game
The Pacers hit 25-of-33 (75.8 percent) of their foul shots and outscored the Bulls at the line by 11.
“Our defense is really good...I’m typically more surprised when teams score than when they don’t score. They got a lot of buckets in the second half but our defense, when it mattered, stepped up and got stops we needed.” – Frank Vogel
“He leads our team in will. He has great will to do whatever is necessary to get the job done, to get the ‘W,' and it was clearly evident tonight.” – Frank Vogel on David West
“Every time we needed a bucket, every time Chicago made a run, it was ‘let’s get the ball to George Hill,’ and he made a play for us.” - Frank Vogel on George Hill
“This is not a Frank Vogel milestone, it’s a ‘where the Pacers are today’ type of milestone and a lot of people contributed to these wins the last couple years.” – Frank Vogel on his 100th win
“To basically wrap up the season series with them is good on our part, in terms of what we want to do in terms of the division. We just gotta continue to improve. We knew this was going to be a tough, scrappy game. They’re well-coached and we knew they were going to put up a fight regardless of who they’ve got in the lineup. I thought we did a good job of handling our business.” – David West
“It’s a huge win. It’s our cross-town rival. Someone that was the best in our division and they say ‘to be the best you have to beat the best,’ and today we took that as a challenge.” – George Hill
“This is a playoff team. We always struggle and play them to the wire ... It does feel good to beat them in three games and have the upper hand on the Central Division.” – Paul George
“I feel like it’s always tough to play against Indiana. I’m really proud of the way we competed. We fought really hard and gave ourselves a chance.” – Bulls center Joakim Noah
- The Pacers captured their third win in a row over the Bulls.
- Danny Granger played eight minutes in the first half but didn’t return in the second. He landed on his left knee awkwardly and the training staff wanted to be cautious.
- The Pacers wore their pinstripe jerseys.
The Boston Celtics make their only visit to Indy on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7 PM EST. Good seats are still available and includes the College Night presented by the Indiana National Guard. Find Tickets »