The Indiana Pacers' three-game winning streak is over after falling to the Chicago Bulls 96-95 in the United Center. Indiana had a chance to win it on the last possession, but Paul George's potential game winner was blocked by Jimmy Butler.
"You feel good with Jimmy guarding Paul George," Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said. "With his confidence, he is just making the game so easy. Jimmy made them work, and especially on that last shot.”
Chicago sprinted out of the gate to a 15-2 lead. The fast start allowed the Bulls to lead 31-21 at the end of the first quarter. Indiana was down by double digits for most of the second quarter, but an 8-0 run at the end of the period keyed by C.J. Miles made the score 53-45, in favor of Chicago, at halftime.
Like the first quarter, Chicago started fast in the third, pushing its lead to a game-high 15. But Monta Ellis turned it on and kept his team alive. He scored eight in the quarter and when it had come to a close, Indiana trailed by just four.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair. Chicago held a slight advantage until an Ellis layup at the 2:33 mark tied the game at 93. Indiana was down three again with just over a minute to play, but an Ellis floater cut the lead to one.
The Pacers got the stop they needed in order to try and win the game, but George’s jumper was well-defended by Butler.
"We got the play we were looking for," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "Paul made a strong move into the lane and made a great move to get open. Butler also made a great play defensively. I don’t think there was a foul. He just made a good defensive play.”
Regardless of the outcome, it was another fantastic night for George. PG had 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Ellis scored 20 in support of George. Finally, C.J. Miles played well, doing most of his damage from beyond the arc. He made five threes and finished with 19 points.
Rose led the way for the Bulls. He scored 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting and dished out six assists. He left the game midway through the fourth quarter with an ankle sprain and didn't return.
“It is an ankle sprain, and he was limping around in the locker room," Hoiberg said. "We don’t know how severe it is. We will find out more tonight.”
Jimmy Butler was effective as well. He added 17 points. Taj Gibson provided a spark off the bench with nine points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
What They're Saying
"I wasn't aware of my stats, I am just happy we got a win. We are still trying to figure out the offense. I am just being patient, whatever the coach needs me to do I will go in and do my job." — Chicago's Taj Gibson
"I have confidence in myself that this is the level I should be playing at regardless against which team or who is guarding me. It is my job to help lead this team to a win. I failed to do so tonight." — Paul George
"We were down the whole game. We were fighting and scratching all night to get back in it. I was proud of our resolve, and we gave ourselves a chance to win at the end." — Vogel
Stat of the Night
This was the seventh straight game in a row Paul George has scored 26 or more points.
- Joe Young made his first career field goal.
- The Pacers were short-handed, with George Hill, Rodney Stuckey and Myles Turner all sidelined. Lavoy Allen’s eight points were a season high.
Inside the Numbers
- Ian Mahinmi's 12 rebounds are the most he’s grabbed in a game this season.
- Paul George and C.J. Miles made all nine of Indiana’s three-pointers.
The Pacers travel to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers on Wednesday night. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. EST, and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Indiana.
Next Home Game
The Pacers return home to face the Bucks this Saturday at 7PM. Find Tickets »