Game Rewind: Pacers 90, Bulls 92

Game Recap

The Pacers ignited the crowd with a memorable fourth-quarter comeback on Monday night, but couldn't quite hang on. Indiana (11-21) ultimately fell to the Chicago Bulls (22-9) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 92-90.

The Bulls entered Monday's contest the hottest team in the NBA, riding a six-game winning streak. They looked well on their way to lucky number seven on Monday night, stretching their lead to as many as 21 points in the third quarter.

But the Pacers' reserves reeled off a spectacular run to start the fourth quarter. After two free throws by Jimmy Butler with 10:48 remaining gave Chicago an 83-66 lead, the Blue-and-Gold's bench unit rattled off a 20-0 run to take a three-point lead.

Chris Copeland scored 11 points in that stretch, repeatedly backing down smaller guards in the post and also knocking down one of his trademark 3-pointers. Copeland had fallen out of the rotation as recently as last week, but the Pacers weren't afraid to dial his number in the fourth, knowing he has a penchant for heating up in a hurry.

"We could see I had a size advantage (in the post)," Copeland said. "We tried to use that as much as possible to try to create double-teams and if they didn't come, I would just go. It worked out for a little while."

The Bulls didn't help themselves, missing 11 straight shots and committing three turnovers in that crucial stretch. Chicago's guards settled for a lot of long contested jumpers in that sequence.

"We wanted to keep them out of the paint," Pacers point guard C.J. Watson said. "Especially (Derrick) Rose, when he gets into the paint, he attacks and then everyone else collapses and they find shooters. So we tried to make them take long two's."

After taking the lead, however, the Pacers' offense stalled out in the final minutes. Chicago eventually reclaimed the lead on a pair of Joakim Noah free throws with 1:45 to play, but Lavoy Allen answered by swishing an 18-foot jumper with 1:24 left.

Butler, however, had an answer for Chicago. The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week sank a huge 3-pointer with 1:07 remaining, then drew an offensive foul on the other end.

Derrick Rose had a chance to seal the game with seconds remaining. His jumper rolled around the rim twice before falling out and into the arms of Luis Scola, setting the stage for one final shot for Indiana with 0.5 seconds remaining.

The Blue-and-Gold appeared to have corralled the rebound earlier and wanted the referees to reward them the timeout with more time remaining, but the officials did not review the play.

Still, the Pacers couldn't have gotten a better look. The final play was originally designed to get a lob at the rim, but C.J. Watson got the inbounds after he found himself wide open in the left corner. With so little time on the clock, Watson rushed his release and the shot fell just short.

"It’s tough," Pacers guard C.J. Miles said of the loss. "We showed a lot of fight and got out of that hole. We left everything out on the floor. I don’t know what else I can really say about it. It’s just tough."

Copeland led Indiana with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, scoring 13 points in the final quarter. Five other Pacers players scored in double figures in the loss.

Butler led all scorers with 27 points and also added nine rebounds and four steals. Pau Gasol chipped in 20 for Chicago, while Rose had 17 points and six assists.

The Pacers will look to bounce back on Wednesday afternoon, when they host the Miami Heat at 3:00 p.m. at The Fieldhouse.

Inside the Numbers

Rounding out the box score: George Hill and C.J. Miles both scored 11 points for Indiana. David West, Solomon Hill, and Luis Scola all added 10 for the Pacers. Scola and Lavoy Allen each had a team-high eight rebounds, while West contributed seven boards. Allen tied career highs with five assists and four blocks.

The Pacers outscored Chicago 25-11 in the fourth quarter. Those 11 fourth-quarter points were the fewest scored by the Bulls and the fewest allowed by the Pacers in any quarter this season.

Indiana's bench outscored Chicago's reserves 48-14, including a 25-0 advantage in the fourth quarter. The Pacers also had a 40-26 advantage overall and a 14-2 edge in the fourth quarter in the paint.

Chicago won despite shooting just 35 percent from the field, with much of their shooting woes coming in the fourth quarter. The Bulls missed their first 13 shots in the period and finished the frame just 2-for-21 (9.5 percent).

The Bulls made 29 free throws, the most by a Pacers opponent this season, shooting a blistering 87.9 percent from the charity stripe. Rose, Butler, and Gasol combined to go 21-for-24 from the line.

You Can Quote Me On That

"Cope stepped up in that fourth quarter, made some big shots and big plays. We just kind of fed off of him. We boarded and got out and ran a little bit. We executed down the stretch, Cope got rolling, and we got the ball to him." -Miles on Copeland's play down the stretch

"He's a scorer. He can have big games when given the space to have big games. He can make plays...He made a lot of plays tonight. He made a lot of tough shots that gave us a chance." -David West on Copeland

"Foul shots won them the game. They got to the line 33 times to our 21 and they made 16 more. That was really the game. They shot like 30-some percent (from the field). So we did everything right on defense except for not fouling." -Allen

"When you have a 16-point lead on the road, you have to keep a certain edge to your play. You can’t relax, especially on the road. A team hits a few shots and gets their confidence, their crowd starts to get into it, the referees don’t call as much, things can happen quickly." -Gasol on the Pacers' run

"The first three quarters I thought we played really well. Obviously we didn’t close out the game the way we would have liked, but I thought to build that lead in the first three quarters was one of the many things we did well. The lesson we learned is you have to keep playing. No lead is safe in this league." -Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau

"I’m confident in myself and so are my teammates. I feel like it’s my job to step up and take and make shots late in the game. Derrick (Rose) is always getting on me to shoot and to shoot threes and to be aggressive. Pau made a great pass on that last shot." -Butler on his game-winning shot

Stat of the Game

No question, the difference on Monday night was at the free throw line, where the Bulls outscored the Pacers by 16 points. Chicago went 29-for-33 from the stripe, while Indiana was just 13-for-21.


  • Chicago won the battle of the boards 46-44, including a 14-7 edge on the offensive glass. The Pacers are now 2-11 on the season when being outrebounded by their opponent.
  • Mike Dunleavy, who played for the Pacers from 2007-11, started at small forward for the Bulls and finished with eight points and 10 rebounds in 24:09.
  • The Bulls snapped a four-game losing streak at The Fieldhouse on Monday, picking up their first win in Indianapolis since April 25, 2012.
  • Chicago leads the overall series between the two franchises 90-80, but the Pacers still hold a 56-30 advantage at home.

Up Next

The Pacers will look to bounce back on Wednesday afternoon, when they host the Miami Heat at 3:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve at The Fieldhouse. Find Tickets »