Pacers lean on hard play to overcome 21-point deficit, beat the Bulls: Running Thoughts
It took 41 minutes from T.J. McConnell, a 16-point 3Q from Myles Turner and a 15-point 4Q from Bennedict Mathurin for the Pacers to end a 7-game slide.
Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 116-110 win over the Chicago Bulls Tuesday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Andrew Nembhard did not practice on Monday so it’s no surprise that he’s unavailable for this one due to a non-Covid illness. Chris Duarte will start in his place.
The Bulls played last night at home, an 11-point win over the Atlanta Hawks. There are 4-4 this season on the second night of a back-to-back. They are without Lonzo Ball, Goran Dragic and Javonte Green.
The NBA announced tonight that pregame, before the 2023 All-Star Game on Feb. 19, there will be a draft of the teams for the first time. The two captains, which will likely be LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, will choose their teammates live based on the roster of players voted to the game. Good addition by the league.
During team warmups, the Pacers celebrated Mark Boyle, the radio voice of the team, announcing his 3,000th game Saturday in Phoenix. It was CEO Rick Fuson, along with Nancy Leonard — and I appreciated how they introduced her as the First Lady of the Pacers. At center court, Boyle was given a navy Pacers jersey with 3k as the number, plus a basketball painted to mark the occasion.
Rev It Up!: NHRA Top Fuel Dragster Antron Brown, who lives in Pittsborro, Ind.
6:46: 15-5 Bulls score the first eight points and jumped ahead by 10 as the Pacers started 2 for 10 from the field, including 1 of 5 from distance. Early appearance out of the timeout for two-way guard Trevelin Queen.
4:08: Expect to see a variety of lineups and here’s another one. It includes Terry Taylor, who has mostly been out of the rotation.
Pacers switch it up defensively, go to a 2-3 zone to try to slow Chicago down.
Sluggish first quarter once again, outscored for the ninth time over the last 10 games. The Pacers trail 33-21 and their lack of offensive firepower was obvious. They didn’t turn it over, but shot 35%, including 1 for 8 from distance.
11:15: Rick Carlisle uses a timeout 45 seconds into the quarter after the Pacers gave up two layups on the Bulls’ first two possessions, including a rebound tip-in.
7:43: A 3-pointer for T.J. McConnell. The team started 2 for 12 and McConnell has now made 7 of his last 8 over the past six games. In the first 40 games, he was 6 for 21 (28.5%). Great progress.
6:20: Out of the timeout, the Pacers gave up an easy dunk to Nikola Vucevic. Unacceptable and bad communication on a baseline out of bounds play.
3:01: The Bulls’ lead balloons to 20, scoring far too easily. Getting whatever they want.
There’s very little to like from the Pacers in the half. Offense was hard to come by, especially while down two point guards. But it starts defensively, bringing the force that Carlisle often talks about. Where was it?
The Bulls, who lead 62-46, shot 55% and were far too comfortable. Vucevic (12), DeMar DeRozan (11) and Derrick Jones Jr. (10) all are in double figures.
Carlisle postgame: “I thought the key was getting a little traction defensively in the second quarter. And while we didn’t win the quarter, we held them under 30. We had a positive halftime. We talked about the fact that we were very much in the game, that they played last night and we were starting to do some things that were causing them some problems.”
8:34: Really good burst by Myles Turner to begin the half. He had eight points at halftime, then scored nine of their first 11 points, hitting inside and out, to cut the deficit to nine — and led the Bulls to call timeout.
Carlisle shared postgame that they put in a new action for him at practice on Monday to get him multiple looks. “It was effective, he was able to score some and his activity led to some open shots. … It was something we thought was needed and could help. In the third, it got us organized.”
He’s still going. And he finished the quarter 7 of 11 for 16 points.
Turner postgame: “My mentality, that’s all that was. Being more aggressive. My guys trusted me, coach gave me some play calls and I was able to get busy a little bit. It was perfect.”