Game Rewind: Bulls 99, Pacers 86

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Ice-cold Pacers fall short against Bulls

By Conrad Brunner

Based on the standings, this was a matchup of the two top teams in the Central Division.

Based on the result, it was a reminder for the Pacers of just how wide the gulf really is between them and the first-place Bulls.

With Derrick Rose carrying the offense with 29 points, and a defense that limited the Pacers to a 32.6 percent shooting overall – and a staggering 23.4 percent in the second and third periods – the Bulls controlled the game throughout on their way to a 99-86 victory before a sellout crowd of 18,165 Friday in Conseco Fieldhouse.

Danny Granger scored 22 for the Pacers but shot 8-of-23 from the field. Indiana is 0-2 against the Bulls this season, losing by a combined total of 32 points.


For the fourth time this season, the Pacers were unable to extend a winning streak to three games, instead falling to 16-21 overall, 10-10 at home. They also fell nine games behind the Bulls, who improved to 26-13 overall, 9-10 on the road. Chicago had lost three straight road games to sub-.500 teams but that streak came to an authoritative end.


  • “We dug a hole in the first half. We weren’t sharp at all. Derrick Rose made sure there wouldn’t be a comeback. In the second half when he’s going like he’s going, it doesn’t matter what you do on a pick and roll. He’s a terrific player." – Pacers coach Jim O'Brien.
  • “We came out sluggish and were not able to turn it up to the level that it should have been." – Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough.
  • “For some reason tonight the lid was on the basket. We missed lay-ups. We missed short jumpers. We just didn’t hit shots," Pacers forward Paul George.
  • “We were just ready tonight. We did a great job of focusing on what they do offensively. We made them take tough, contested shots." – Bulls forward Carlos Boozer.


In the second and third periods, the Pacers shot 11-of-47 from the field – 23.4 percent. They were 5-of-22 on shots in the paint (22.7 percent).


    Mine (@conrad_brunner): "As DRose converts a 4pt play, Bulls fans chanting M-V-P. Pacers fans responding with S-A-T. I love this game." Theirs (@austincroshere): "Pick and roll killing us!!! Switch, blitz, hard show??? Something, anything???"


The Pacers started relatively well, jumping out to a 17-12 lead midway through the first quarter as Hansbrough and Boozer put on quite a show in the power forward matchup. But the Bulls got a big lift from their bench, specifically Taj Gibson, who had six in a row including consecutive dunks to spark an 11-2 run to that put the visitors up 28-22 and, as it turned out, they wouldn't trail again.

With an 8-2 surge, the Pacers cut the deficit to 35-33 early in the second quarter but that's where the bottom fell out of the offense. The Pacers missed 16 of 17 shots in a span of more than seven minutes while the Bulls put together an 18-4 run to build a 53-37 lead.

Granger scored five in a seven-point surge late in the third quarter that made it 70-61 but Rose answered with five of his own and the Bulls pushed the lead back to 81-63 early in the fourth.

With Granger finally finding the range, the Pacers had one more push, cutting it to 90-81, but Rose sparked a decisive 8-2 run with a pair of buckets and an assist as the Bulls put it away.


With Granger hitting just 35 percent of his shots, the Pacers dropped to 3-15 when he fails to reach 40 percent in a game. He added six rebounds and three assists. Mike Dunleavy scored 13 and was the only starter to make at least half his shots (5-of-10, including 3-of-6 from the arc). Hansbrough was 4-of-9 for 12 points with three rebounds and two blocks. Darren Collison shot 4-of-16 and had 10 points, five assists and five rebounds. Jeff Foster had 15 rebounds off the bench. The Pacers shot a higher percentage on 3-point shots (.389) than inside the arc (.311).

Rise was 11-of-21 from the field, 3-of-6 from the arc for his 29 points, adding 10 rebounds and five assists. Dent scored 17 on 7-of-19 shooting, adding five assists and three blocks. Boozer scored 14 and Kurt Thomas pulled 18 rebounds. The Bulls shot .455 overall and were 7-of-20 (.350) from the arc.


  • Josh McRoberts, who had not played since being replaced by Hansbrough in the starting lineup, was the first player off the bench.
  • Foster moved ahead of Jermaine O'Neal into fifth place on the Pacers' all-time career rebounding list (4,944).
  • The Pacers' .326 field goal percentage was their second-lowest of the season.
  • The Bulls have now won five of their last six games with Indiana. Chicago leads the all-time series with Indiana, 83-72.
  • The Pacers committed just eight turnovers, tying their second lowest total of the season. The Pacers have had eight miscues in each of their last two games.
  • Including a difference of 24-19 tonight, the Pacers have shot more free throws than their opponent in two straight games, and just eight times all season. The Pacers are now 4-4 this season when attempting more free throws than their opponent.


The Pacers open a four-game road trip with a special Martin Luther King Day afternoon tip Monday in Los Angeles against Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and the Clippers (3:30 p.m., WIBC 93 FM). Please note, the game will not be televised locally.