Chris Duarte
(NBAE/Getty Images)

Game Rewind: Pacers 125, Bulls 122

Sunday, March 5 at 3:30 PM ET at United Center

Game Recap: Bulls 125, Pacers 122

Game Recap

When the team needed a bucket in one of the biggest moments of the season, Indiana Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton called his own number.

With 2.7 ticks left on the clock, with the score tied at 122, Haliburton hoisted a 30-foot shot from the right horn of the Chicago Bulls logo and hit nothing but net to push the Pacers to a 125-122 road win.

If the Pacers (29-36) advance to the postseason, the Sunday matinee win over the Bulls (29-36) at the United Center could prove a catalyst to their berth.

With the victory, the Pacers (29-36) win the regular season series over the Bulls (29-36), 3-1, and move into the 11th position in the Eastern Conference. The top six teams in the conference will automatically make the playoffs while the seven through 10 seeds make the Play-In Tournament.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Latest Standings, Remaining Schedules, and More >>

The final minute was a thriller in the Windy City.

With 22.6 seconds left in the game, Bulls guard Zach LaVine – who finished with a game high 42 points – was fouled from behind the arc and made two of three free throw attempts to tie it. From there, Haliburton made his shot before the Blue & Gold held off the Bulls’ last game-tying attempt.

“I just shot the first one that I saw and it felt good off my hands,” Haliburton said postgame.

Halburton’s final statline was an impressive 29 points, on 11-for-17 shooting (6-for-9 3-point), with 11 assists and three rebounds.

Tallying 11 assists against the Bulls, Haliburton has tied the franchise record for most 10+ assists games in a season. Haliburton has 31 games of 10+ assists this season, tying the record held by Don Buse (1976-77) and Mark Jackson (1997-98).

The Pacers’ bench proved key in the win, outscoring the Bulls reserves 57-30. Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin topped the second unit’s scoring with 17 points while Chris Duarte had 15 points and Oshae Brissett added 10.

“I just really want to compliment the guys off the bench tonight,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “T.J. (McConnell), Chris (Duarte), Isaiah (Jackson) and Oshae (Brissett) gave us great energy. They played unselfish. They played hard, played together. It was a lot of fun to watch.”

After LaVine’s 42, DeMar DeRozan had 23 points and Patrick Williams had 14 points for the Bulls.

The Pacers’ bench outscored the Bulls’ reserves 40-7 in the first half, anchored  by 13 points by Mathurin and 12 points from Duarte, as they led 67-60 at the break. LaVine had 24 points in the first half for the Bulls.

The Bulls didn’t trail in the first quarter, shooting 65 percent from the field (13-for-20) to lead the Pacers 35-30.

In the opening frame, Haliburton and LaVine both had hot hands. Haliburton made six of seven shot attempts – including 4-for-4 from 3-point range – to account for 16 Pacers points while LaVine hit four of eight shots while sinking five of six free throws for 15 points.

Chicago built a 14-5 lead off three Indiana turnovers to start the game before a 3-pointer and layup by Haliburton got the Blue & Gold back in it at 14-10 with 7:10 left in the first quarter.

Haliburton's scoring kept the Pacers deficit under 10 points until four straight free throws from LaVine and a dunk by Andre Drummond put the Bulls up 35-25 with a minute on the clock.

In the final 46 seconds, however, a tip-in by Mathurin and a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Duarte cut the Bulls’ lead to five points.

The Pacers and Bulls traded scores to start the second quarter until the visitors went on a 14-4 run – on buckets by Mathurin, Duarte, Jackson and McConnell – to go up 56-46 with 5:06 left in the first half.

With 2.2 seconds left, Oshae Brissett drained a 3-pointer and the Pacers went to the locker room with a seven-point lead.

Registering two blocks in the first half, Pacers center Myles Turner passed Rik Smits (1,111) for the second-most blocks by a player in franchise history. Jermaine O’Neal owns the No. 1 spot at 1,245 blocks. Turner finished with three blocks total in the game.

Indiana shot 54.3 percent from the field and the Bulls shot 63.9 percent in the first half.

Out of the break, the Bulls were able to pull within two points of the lead twice before a 9-2 Pacers run, on four points by rookie Andrew Nembhard and a 3-pointer by Buddy Hield, prompted a Chicago timeout as Indiana led 82-73 with 5:44 left in the third quarter.

The Bulls responded with a 9-2 run of their own, but four straight points including a floating buzzer-beater by Haliburton gave the Pacers a 95-89 lead going into the final frame.

Indiana went cold from the field to start the fourth quarter and the Bulls took advantage, going on a 14-1 run from 8:35 to 4:38, on seven points by LaVine, to retake the lead at 111-108.

With 2:47 left in the game, down by two points, Haliburton completed an and-one to put the Blue & Gold up 115-114 with 2:47 remaining before a layup by Turner made it a three-point game.

The game then turned into a back-and-forth affair until Haliburton's drained what would be the game-winner.

Overall, the Pacers made 48 of 94 shots and the Bulls made 45 of 74 attempts. The Pacers hit 16 3-pointers to the Bulls’ 10 treys.

Indiana outscored Chicago 54-46 in the paint and outrebounded the Bulls 35-33, including 13-4 in offensive rebounds.

The Pacers will host the Philadelphia 76ers (41-22) on Monday to kick off a two-game homestand. Indiana has 17 games left on its regular season schedule.

“We all want to be in the playoffs. We all want to experience that,” Duarte said. “… We want to go out there and try and make a run. We are capable of doing that – we’ve shown that already.”

Inside the Numbers

Chicago shot 60.8 percent in the game to Indiana’s 51.1 percent. The Pacers are 8-28 when shooting worse than their opponent this season.

The Pacers had just nine turnovers to the Bulls’ 14 giveaways.

The Bulls went 22-for-25 from the free throw line and the Pacers finished 13-for-16.

Both teams had just eight fast-break points.

There were nine lead changes and four ties in the game.

Duarte has scored 15 or more points in a game seven times this season, including the past two games.

After not playing in the rotation since Feb. 11, Brissett recorded10 points, two assists and two rebounds in 18 minutes for the Pacers.

All 20 players that took the floor in the game recorded at least one basket.

Postgame Media Availability: March 5, 2023

You Can Quote Me On That

“We've got great veteran players that have done the right kind of encouraging to our second-unit guys. Our coaching staff has worked on really convincing these guys that the way to play is to play with total unselfishness and as hard as you can. The second quarter was beautiful basketball by those guys. It was hard to get the starters back in the game.” – Carlisle on the bench play

“It was just selfless basketball throughout the entire game. We had a few down possessions, a few bad turnovers, a couple of ugly things that happened late clock ... but you know, it's an NBA game (and) there's thousands of events. But the overall intention of all the guys that played tonight, and all the guys on our bench, was really high-level unselfish.” – Carlisle on focusing on ball movement in the game

“The balance between scoring and assisting was perfect in this game.” – Carlisle on Haliburton’s performance

“Ball movement – they had the ball hopping. I thought Chris (Duarte) did a good job picking up full court and kind of changing their flow and their rhythm. I think when you play a team like Chicago with two superstars, they’re going to get theirs and there’s kind of nothing you can do about it and you just need to kind of keep the other guys in check so everyone is off their rhythm. I thought we did a good job overall.” – Haliburton on the bench play in the game

“I think we did a good job of moving the ball and finding the wide-open man. We played for each other and played hard on the defensive side. That’s where everything started.” – Duarte on the win

“In the league, there’s a lot of ups and downs. When I’m down, I stay through my work ethic. I keep working on my jump shot. I’m a shooter and I know it’s going to come back. I’m starting to see it now – it’s coming back and I’m happy for that.” — Duarte on his recent play

“It’s just a testament to the hard work that’s being put in. Shoutout to my teammates (for) believing in me and finding me when I’m open. … I’ve just been ready. Every game I expect to get in and do what I do.” – Brissett on playing key minutes after moving out of the rotation

“A lot of games have helped me develop and grow as a player – improve on a lot of things I’ve wanted to improve on throughout the season. (I’m) looking forward to growing in the next games we have.” – Mathurin on his rookie season

“When I saw the ball in the air, I knew it was going in.” Mathurin on Haliburton’s final shot

Stat of the Night

Haliburton’s 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in the game was his sixth made shot from deep. He finished 11-for-17 from the field including 6-for-9 from three.

  • Sunday’s win was the 100th for the Pacers against the Bulls. Chicago, however, still leads the all-time series 103-100.
  • Jordan Nwora, in his seventh game with the Pacers since being traded from the Milwaukee Bucks in February, got his first start for the Blue & Gold on Sunday. He took the place of regular starter Aaron Nesmith, who sat out due to a sore left hip.
  • The Pacers have put out 21 different starting lineups this season.
Up Next

After a four-game road trip, the Pacers will return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, March 6 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>