Saturday, March 23nd, 2013 at 8:00 PM EDT at the United Center
Game Rewind: IND 84, CHI 87
Scott Agness | March 23, 2013
The Pacers came into Chicago seeking their fourth win in a row, a season sweep of their division rival, and a quality road win. Despite Indiana hitting only four shots in the fourth quarter, Paul George had two open looks in the final seconds to try to send the game into overtime. Instead the undermanned Bulls prevailed, 87-84.
The Pacers (43-27) struggled in the early-going, missing their first six shots. They then hit their next five attempts and used an 11-2 run to take control for the rest of the half. Already without Joakim Noah because of a sore foot, the Bulls' (37-31) front line got even thinner late in the first when both Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer sat down with two fouls. Roy Hibbert scored eight of the Pacers’ 22 points and they led 22-16 after the first.
With reserves on the floor for the first stint of the second period, the Pacers opened up a 10-point lead. The Bulls brought Boozer and Deng back and the two teamed up to score Chicago's next 12 points to get within three. On the other end, the pair of Tyler Hansbrough, starting his fourth straight game for David West (back), and George alternated baskets to keep the Pacers in front. Though they were outscored by one in the second the Pacers held a 44-39 halftime lead.
George, who scored a game-high 23 points, had to be taken out with over three minutes to play in the third after he picked up his fourth foul. That came at a bad time because the Bulls, down as many as 10, began mounting a comeback that tied the game late in the period.
With 27 seconds left in the quarter, Lance Stephenson was horse-collared to the ground by Nate Robinson on a layup in transition. Robinson received a flagrant-2 and his night was over. A critical lapse on defense allowed Daequan Cook to go end-to-end and lay the ball in as the buzzer sounded. That gave Chicago its first lead, 68-67, since the first four minutes of the game going into the fourth.
Robinson’s ejection sparked an 8-1 spurt from the Bulls while the Pacers went almost six minutes without a field goal. Indiana got little interior production - just two points - in the fourth quarter. Trailing by seven with 40 seconds to go, Pacers point guard George Hill knocked down a tough outside shot despite getting fouled by Kirk Hinrich. Hill made the foul shot to finish off the four-point play and make it a one possession game.
On the ensuing possession, Hinrich, defended by Hibbert on a switch, missed a layup giving the Pacers hope. With 15 seconds left, Hill dribbled down to the baseline, then rifled a pass to George in the left corner, but he couldn't convert the contested three. He chased down his own rebound, though, and fired again from 25 feet out, just before the buzzer sounded. That, too, was off the mark. Two good looks to send the game into overtime but instead, the Pacers return to Indy with a loss and are now a small percentage behind New York for the second spot in the East.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George led all scorers with 23 points, 20 of which were scored in the first three quarters. He also pulled down 11 rebounds and had three steals. Roy Hibbert had 18 points, but did not score or attempt a shot in the final period. George Hill tallied 11 points and Lance Stephenson finished with 10.
Luol Deng paced the Bulls with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. With 18 points and 10 rebounds, Carlos Boozer recorded his 33rd double-double of the season. Nazr Mohammed scored in double figures for the first time as a Bull, finishing with a season-high 11 points in 31 minutes.
Even without Joakim Noah, who averages at team-best 11 rebounds per game, the Bulls were plus three on the boards and outscored the Pacers in the paint, 42-30.
The Pacers had just nine turnovers, their lowest total in 17 games.
Neither team shot well behind the arc. The Pacers went 5-for-14 and the Bulls only made 3-of-11.
“It’s tough to beat a team four times. I’m very proud of our guys’ effort but we just fell short … We struggled to score. We had a lot of starters on the bench. Paul [George] was in foul trouble. George [Hill] had a strained groin.” – Frank Vogel
“Great execution. Got a good look. Sometimes, the ball doesn’t go down. I’ll take that look any day of the week with that shooter.” – Frank Vogel on the final play
“We went to a lot of jump shots. We should have kept attacking. They did a good job of moving us and really getting us in rotations. They pounded us on the inside.” – Paul George
“We should have won this damn game. I am not happy with our performance towards the end of the game. Myself included. Have to be better.” – Roy Hibbert, via twitter.
“I don’t think it was the offense end. Just defense. That play at the end of the third quarter really shifted the balance and then they had a spark going into the fourth. They were really playing well.” – Roy Hibbert
Stat of the Game
The Pacers missed all but four of their 20 attempts in the fourth quarter and shot 38.5 percent for the game.
- With the win, the Bulls prevented the Pacers from sweeping the season series. Indiana hasn't swept Chicago since 2001-02.
- Marco Belinelli and Paul George each received technical fouls late in the second quarter.
- Daequan Cook suffered a left thigh bruise late in the fourth after falling on a cameraman on the baseline while diving after the ball. He did not return.
- The Bulls lead the NBA in home attendance for the third time in as many years and after tonight, have sold out 121 games in a row.
The Pacers are back home against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday at 7 PM EST before heading out west for a four-game road trip. Find Tickets »