Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 97, Bulls 80
Scott Agness | November 6, 2013
The stage was set Wednesday evening for the Pacers to take another baby step in their quest of a championship. The Chicago Bulls came to town, fresh off three days rest while the Pacers played - and won - the night before in Detroit. Derrick Rose, back from injury, has struggled since the regular season tipped and many wondered might this be a turnaround game for him, all while sending a message to the Pacers that they aren’t just going to fork over the division.
Energy wasn’t a problem for the Pacers (5-0) with another sellout crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse voicing their support for this likable team. The Pacers overcame a six-point halftime hole and dominated the fourth quarter in their 97-80 win in front of a national audience on ESPN.
Rose scored seven of the Bulls’ first nine points as the visitors took a 9-4 lead three minutes in. From there, the Pacers outscored them 21-10, with more than half their points being scored inside the paint. It was a physical game, as to be expected, and this was just the start.
Yet again, the second quarter was a drag to the Pacers. One night after managing just nine points, Wednesday they were 5-of-22 and added just 12 points to their total. During the first 6:38 of the period, they missed 11-of-12 shots and had five turnovers. That’s certainly not a recipe for success, though despite all of that, they trailed by just six at half.
David West and Paul George played the entire third quarter and helped their team regain the lead. They both irritated the opponent with their stout defense and made them pay at the other end of the floor. Managing through adversity, which included a technical foul on coach Frank Vogel, the Pacers clung to a 63-62 lead entering the fourth.
Through two quarters, Pacers guard Lance Stephenson was 0-for-7 and scoreless. However, he didn’t put his head down and pout, instead staying with it and coming up big when the Pacers needed it. Stephenson banged in two threes with a pair of hoops from Luis Scola squeezed in between. That sent fans to their feet, where they would remain for the rest of the contest. Scola, without a doubt, had his best game with the Pacers — finally looking in rhythm and on the same page as his new teammates. He added 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting in less than 16 minutes of action.
The Pacers dominated the final frame, outscoring the Bulls 34-18 en route to their 17-points victory. Thrilled with the win, sure, but the Pacers are keeping calm about their impressive 5-0 start, knowing that things can change in a hurry. That’s the mature approach. The Pacers are for real and they still have tremendous growth ahead of them. But Wednesday’s win, without fresh legs and against a division rival (believe it or not), contributes nicely in their mission for homecourt advantage in the playoffs.
Inside the Numbers
Five Pacers scored in double figures, led by Paul George’s 21. He’s scored at least 21 points in every game this season.
David West recorded his first double-double of the young season — 17 points and 13 rebounds. Entering the game, he needed two rebounds to reach 3,500 for his career and he easily surpassed that mark.
Derrick Rose and Luol Deng each scored 17 points for the visiting Bulls. Kirk Hinrich was responsible for 12 points and five assists coming off the bench.
The Pacers outscored the Bulls 18-4 in transition and most glaring, they didn’t allow the Bulls to score one point on the run in the second half.
The inside game is always key between these two teams and the Pacers were +12 on the glass and they outscored the Bulls 28-14 in the paint. Indiana also converted 17 offensive rebounds in 19 second chance points.
The Pacers held the Bulls to 35.6 percent shooting, more than seven percent below their average.
The Pacers held the Bulls to 35.6 percent shooting, more than seven percent below their average. The Bulls made just 11 field goals in the second half compared to the Pacers’ 11 buckets in the fourth quarter alone.
“We’re 5-0 and we’re in the middle of four games in five nights. … It’s a long season.” -Frank Vogel
“The guy is just a winner. It’s nothing I’m doing. He just goes out there and he knows how to play this game. He’s one of the best players in the history of International basketball and one of the best power forwards in the game … Quite the luxury.” - Vogel on Luis Scola
“We knew this was going to be a tough game. … We wanted to protect our home court and I think this game and the game last night on the road in Detroit, were really our first two tests of the season.” - David West
“I challenged the team before the season that we gotta go to go 10-0 [to start the season]. We’re just halfway there. We just have to stay focused. We’re just going game-by-game.” - Lance Stephenson
“We got beat in every facet of the game, the rebounding, the defensive transition, turned it over. We have to play 48 minutes with a good team.” - Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau
Stat of the Game
With George Hill missing his third consecutive game, C.J. Watson and Donald Sloan stepped up admirably. They combined for 20 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals and no turnovers in 49 minutes.
- The Pacers, the only undefeated team in the league, have opened the season 5-0 for the first time in NBA franchise history.
- Ian Mahinmi sprained his right ankle towards the end of the third quarter. He was available to return and doesn’t expect it to hinder him moving forward.
- Frank Vogel received his first technical foul of the season in the third quarter.
- Kirk Hinrich was given a flagrant-1 foul for throwing an elbow at Lance Stephenson late in the fourth.
The Pacers look to make it six in a row as they host the Toronto Raptors on Friday night, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. EST.