As 9.5-point home favorites over the struggling 3-19 Bulls, many predicted a humongous one side game favoring the Pacers at the final buzzer. For the first 36 minutes, that surprisingly was not the case before the fourth quarter rolled around. Victor Oladipo knocked down the game-winning three with 31 seconds left, that gave the Pacers a small but huge 97-96 lead. From there the home court advantage kicked in, and the Pacers won a close one 98-96 on Wednesday night.
First Half Analysis
The opening half of play does not need a long recap, simply because it was the Bulls with complete control. Chicago opened the game on a 13-4 run before the Pacers offense would wake up in the first quarter, producing an 8-0 scoring run of their own to close the gap early. The Bulls from there would finish out the quarter on a 17-8 run, giving them, a sizeable 30-20 lead going into the second.
The second quarter would provide better play from the Pacers to start the 12 minutes, but Indiana could not compete with the Bulls. Domantas Sabonis and Bojan Bogdanovic knocked down back-to-back step back jumpers early in the second, making the first two baskets from either side. Those would be key because the Bulls would go on a 7-0 run to extend their lead back to double digits. From there, the Pacers and Bulls would exchange buckets until halftime with Chicago leading Indiana 55-39. The Bulls outscored the Pacers 25-19 in the second quarter, which went better than the first.
Second Half Analysis
The final half of action was where all the action took place, and the Pacers mounted a tremendous comeback. Indiana stormed right out of the break on an 11-6 scoring run over the first 3 minutes to cut their deficit down to eleven. The rest of the quarter would go smoothly without one key turning point, as the Pacers finally were able to narrowly outscore the Bulls 30-28.
Finally, for the fourth quarter, the Pacers made their comeback with an outstanding performance on both ends of the floor. Indiana was able to knock down more shots than any other quarter, and the defense was capable of shutting down the Bulls completely. The fourth quarter started out close, with each side exchanging baskets for two minutes. After those two minutes were up, the Pacers took command with an 11-3 run making it only a 7-point deficit. From there, Indiana would go on a 13-2 run to close out the fourth and ultimately win the game.
Individual Player Performances
Victor Oladipo once again was captain of the ship for Indiana, finishing with 27 points (10/20 FG, 4/10 3PT, 3/4 FT), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals in a season-high 39 minutes. Most notably on Tuesday night, Oladipo drained a three with 31 seconds left that gave the Pacers a much-needed late lead over the Bulls. Oladipo continued his incredible streak of recording at least one steal or blocked shot now for 18 straight games. At this point, nobody has been able to slow down Oladipo on the floor and he continues to ride the hot hand. 25 games into the season, Oladipo has been the MVP for the Pacers.
“I was surveying the scene at first, just seeing who was back, how many people were back and nobody stopped me,” Oladipo said after the game. “I could have kept going and drove into the defense or pull up for the three, shoot the ball with confidence, and that’s what I did.”
Bojan Bogdanovic once again provided great numbers with 17 points (6/13 FG, 3/6 3PT, 2/2 FT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal in 38 minutes. Bogdanovic now has a minimum of 10 points in 10 of his last 11 starts for Indiana. The deep shot continued its success for Bogdanovic, who has not appeared to slow down his fantastic production lately.
Myles Turner who just became the official leader for blocks in the NBA yesterday continued his dominance on defense with another solid performance. Turner scored 11 points (4/11 FG, 0/3 3PT, 3/4 FT) along with 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 blocks in 32 minutes. An interesting stat about Turner is after tonight’s performance, now has a block in his 22 last starts. What is unique is, Turner only has started 18 games this season, meaning the streak goes back to last season. Per Basketball-Reference, Turner passed one of Jermaine O’Neal’s streaks for 9th on the all-time Pacers streak of at least one block per game. Turner also had a streak of 25 consecutive games from 11-16-2016 to 1-5-2017 which ranks seventh on the all-time list. This stat goes back to when it was first tracked in 1983, and O’Neal leads the pack with 54 consecutive games recording a block.
Pacers Box Score (ESPN)
Going Inside the Team Numbers
Scoring Breakdown: The scoring output from the Pacers was less than expected against a poor defense, but they easily made up for that with great shooting. Indiana shot 39-87 (44.8%) on field goals, 12-34 (35.3%) on three-pointers, and 8-10 (80.0%) on free throws. The Pacers numbers stacked right up with the Bulls who shot 39-83 (47.0%) on field goals, 10-26 (38.5%) on three-pointers, and 8-16 (50.0%) from the charity stripe.
Battle of the Boards: Once again I’ll say, rebounding is the most complex area on the scoreboard. The numbers usually are all over the place for winning and losing teams. This time, the Pacers were slightly outrebounded by the Bulls. Indiana hauled in 39 total rebounds including 7 on offense and 32 on defense. For the Bulls, they grabbed 46 total boards with 11 on offense and 35 on defense.
Ball Control: Controlling the ball usually is an area where the Pacers excel with an undersized lineup. Indiana only committed 13 total turnovers and scored 13 off the Bulls mistake. For Chicago, they committed 16 total turnovers but scored 19 off the Pacers mistakes.
Ball Movement: The ball movement is always flowing for the Pacers, and Wednesday night was another case. Indiana dished out 21 assists, compared to the Bulls with only 18. For the first time in a while, Darren Collison did not lead the stat, but it was Myles Turner with 6 assists leading the team.
Defensive Playmaking: Finally, for one of the most critical areas, Indiana was the slightly better team in defensive playmaking. The Pacers racked up 7 steals and 5 blocked shots led by Cory Joseph and Myles Turner. Joseph who was questionable before tonight, contributed 3 steals while Turner provided 4 blocks. Chicago was not a match, with only 3 steals and the same number of blocks.
Stat of the Night (Pacers.com)
The Pacers outscored Chicago 19-4 over the final 6:57 of Wednesday’s contest. Over that stretch, Indiana held the Bulls to 1-of-8 shooting and forced four turnovers.
- The Pacers have won nine of their last 11 home games against Chicago.
- The Bulls lead the all-time series with Indiana 96-86, but the Pacers have a 61-31 lead in games played in Indianapolis.
- Chicago has now lost 10 straight games for just the seventh time in franchise history.
Pacers will face the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Friday at 7:00 PM Eastern.