Pacers at Bulls

GAME RECAP: Bulls 119, Pacers 107

The Bulls tie a franchise record with 18 made 3-pointers and get the win against the Pacers 119-107. Nikola Mirotic scored 28 points while Lauri Markkanen set a new career-high with 32 points.

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GAME RECAP: Bulls 119, Pacers 107

The Bulls tie a franchise record with 18 made 3-pointers and get the win against the Pacers 119-107. Nikola Mirotic scored 28 points while Lauri Markkanen set a new career-high with 32 points.
Dec 29, 2017  |  02:03

Collison Scores 30 in Chicago

Darren Collison shoots 12-16 from the field to help him score 30 points.
Dec 29, 2017  |  02:04

Sabonis With a Slam

December 29, 2017: Out of the pick n' roll, Lance Stephenson finds Domantas Sabonis for a big dunk.
Dec 29, 2017  |  01:37

Collison Beats The Buzzer

December 29, 2017: Darren Collison cans a jumper at the end of the third quarter.
Dec 29, 2017  |  01:19

Stephenson With a Long Distance Dime to Young

December 29, 2017: Lance Stephenson hurls a full-court pass to a streaking Thad Young.
Dec 29, 2017  |  01:47

Young Nails a 3-Pointer

December 29, 2017: After an athletic rebound by Alex Poythress, Joe Young hits a triple.
Dec 29, 2017  |  02:06

Collison Finds Stephenson In The Corner

December 29, 2017: Darren Collison gets it to Lance Stephenson in the corner, who drains the open 3-pointer.
Dec 29, 2017  |  03:03

Game Rewind: Pacers 107, Bulls 119

Friday, December 29, 2017 at 8:00 PM ET at the United Center
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Game Recap

The Indiana Pacers handled the Chicago Bulls in each of their first two meetings earlier this season, but there were two major changes on Friday night in the third game between the two Central Division foes.

Victor Oladipo did not play for Indiana. And Nikola Mirotić did play for Chicago.

Those two facts made all the difference as the Bulls (13-22) rolled to a 119-107 win over the Pacers (19-17) at the United Center.

Oladipo, the Pacers' leading scorer at 24.9 points per game and the hero of a Dec. 6 win over Chicago, missed his second straight game due to soreness in his right knee.

Mirotić, who missed the Bulls' first two games against Indiana while recovering from facial fractures suffered in a practice scuffle with teammate Bobby Portis, scored 28 points and went 8-for-15 from 3-point range in Friday's victory. After starting the season 3-20, Chicago has been a completely different team since Mirotić returned to the lineup, winning 10 of its last 12 games.

The Bulls went 18-for-39 from three on Friday night, outscoring Indiana by 33 points from beyond the arc.

"You've got to get up on the guys," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the game. "We knew that this team improving over the last few weeks...they've been shooting the three extremely well. We just did not challenge their threes."

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The Bulls got off to a strong start on Friday. An early 19-6 run gave Chicago a 21-12 lead. Mirotić checked in shortly thereafter and drained 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to close the first quarter, giving the Bulls a 37-27 advantage after the opening 12 minutes.

Mirotić stayed hot to start the second quarter, reeling off eight more points, and the Bulls extended their lead to as many as 18 points in the frame. But the Pacers closed the half with a 6-0 run to chip away at the deficit heading into halftime, making it 64-52 at the break.

The Pacers were able to get within single digits on several occasions in the third quarter. Darren Collison was feeling it, scoring 12 points in the frame on 5-of-6 shooting (2-of-3 from 3-point range) to key Indiana's offensive attack.

But the Bulls got 13 points in the quarter from rookie forward Lauri Markkanen and were able to keep the Pacers at arm's length, taking an 86-77 lead into the fourth.

Domantas Sabonis' dunk on the opening possession of the fourth quarter made it a seven-point game, but the Bulls' bench dominated the next couple minutes. Mirotić knocked down three more 3-pointers during a 15-3 Chicago run that pushed the lead to 19 points.

The Blue & Gold had one last charge in them, reeling off an 11-3 run to trim the deficit to 11 with 4:49 to play, prompting a timeout from Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg. The Bulls stopped the bleeding after the stoppage and never allowed the Pacers back within single digits the rest of the way

Collison led Indiana with 30 points, going 12-for-15 from the field and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc and dished out six assists in the loss. Lance Stephenson — starting in Oladipo's place at shooting guard — added 18 points and nine rebounds, while Sabonis added 14 points and nine boards off the bench.

While Mirotić provided the spark off the bench, Markkanen was just as good for Chicago, scoring a career-high 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting (5-of-9 from 3-point range). Jerian Grant added 11 points, seven rebounds, and 12 assists for the Bulls.

Indiana has now dropped three straight games and six of their last nine contests.

"We've lost that sense of urgency," McMillan said. "We're giving up big quarters. Defensively, teams are really coming out and just jumping on us...right now we're not defending well at all."

It won't get any easier as long as Oladipo remains out of the lineup.

The 6-4 guard is considered doubtful for Sunday's 5:00 PM game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. He will be reevaluated early next week.

Inside the Numbers

Collison's 30 points matched his season high, set in a win at Memphis on Nov. 15. His 12 field goals and four 3-pointers both equaled his Pacers career highs, both of which he set against Denver on Nov. 9, 2010 during his first stint with Indiana.

Indiana outscored Chicago 54-40 in points in the paint, but the Bulls' bench bested Indiana's reserves, 49-31.

Pacers players aside from Collison went just 3-for-17 from 3-point range. Sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic was an uncharacteristic 0-for-5 from beyond the arc in the loss.

Mirotić's eight 3-pointers were one shy of his career high. He made nine triples against the Knicks on March 23, 2016.

Markkanen topped 30 points for the first time in 32 NBA games. The rookie's previous high was 26 points on Nov. 19 at Phoenix.

The Bulls had 31 assists on 43 field goals on Friday. Grant set a new career high with 12 dimes.

You Can Quote Me On That

"We haven't been able to stop teams, lately. We got to challenge our guys to condition to get better, to try to work a little harder. But this a part of seeing the growth of this team. We did some good things here in the month of November and December. And now teams are playing better basketball, and we'll see who we are." -McMillan

"The effort was there sometimes, it just wasn't there for a whole 48 minutes. We gotta be better, but we can't keep saying it. At some point, we gotta turn this thing around and go out there and just do it."

"I just [took] whatever the defense gave me. Obviously, we don’t have Vic. It’s not about scoring, it’s just about attacking." -Collison on his big offensive night

"I told myself today before the game that I had to be aggressive a little bit more and that's what I did. I felt great, especially making the first couple of threes then my teammates tried to find me and it was just fun. My son actually told me before the game, 'Daddy, I want you to make five threes today.' I told him I would try, I can’t promise but I did make eight, actually." -Mirotic

"I think everything was clicking for us and a good team effort. It felt good to see a couple of shots go through the net and I felt my confidence getting higher." -Markkanen

Stat of the Night

Chicago's 18 3-pointers matched the most by a Pacers opponent in an NBA game. Teams have accomplished the feat seven times against Indiana, all of them coming in the last three seasons.

Portland set the mark on Dec. 3, 2015 and Pacers opponents have now matched it three times both last season (Dallas on Oct. 26 and Cleveland on both Feb. 15 and April 2) and this season (Philadelphia on Nov. 3, Houston on Nov. 29, and Chicago on Friday).

Noteworthy

  • Indiana is 86-97 all-time in regular season games against the Bulls, including a 25-66 record in Chicago. The Pacers have dropped six of their last seven games at the United Center.
  • The Pacers are now 0-3 this season when playing without Oladipo.
  • Bulls point guard Kris Dunn was a late scratch on Friday with left patella tendonitis. Grant replaced him in the starting lineup.

Next Up

The Pacers close out 2017 by hosting Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, Dec. 31 at 5:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »