The Bulls (11-15) drew an exciting 120-112 win over the Pacers (14-14) in Indiana on Monday night. A good win over a good team.
Here are 15 observations:
1. Wendell Carter Jr. he looked good in his return to action after an injury caused by a quadruple contusion of 11 games, starting and playing 21 minutes.
Although Billy Donovan warned of foreplay, Carter could take a while to catch the wind, scoring the Bulls ’first 4 points and finishing the first half with 7 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist (3 turnovers) and a drawn charge that took him a sharp elbow to chin. He looked determined and physically accelerated.
Carter’s line was completed: 11 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist (4 turnovers), 1 steal, 5 fouls and provided a solid defense for Domantas Sabonis. An encouraging performance.
2 Stop us if you’ve heard it before: But this was a running game. After the Bulls built a double-digit lead in the third quarter, Indiana nearly turned things around 17-4 in five minutes, turning the 60-50 Bulls into 67-64 Pacers. The Bulls then responded to finish the frame ahead of 79-70 … After which the Pacers opened the fourth 18-9 for a 88-88 knot with 6:50 to play.
Back and forth they went from there, until they headed into overtime, knots 105-105, where the Bulls outscored the Pacers 15-7.
3 The Bulls have closed the last two minutes and are changing a bit, and on the floor are Coby White, Zach LaVine, Garrett Temple, Denzel Valentine and Thad Young. The same unit drove for the entire NW.
4. LaVine entered its course, but finished with 30 points, 13th consecutive game with 20 or more and 12th 30th place in the season. Twelve of those points came in the fourth; in fact, he scored 12 of the last 14 Bulls in regulation, including this ridiculous move away from Sabonis to give the Bulls a one-point advantage with 27 seconds of play:
But after stopping, LaVine went 1-for-2 off the charity track, and Malcolm Brogdon equalized with the remaining 10.5 seconds. LaVine missed the mid-range jumper on the buzzer, which sent the game into overtime.
5. A rare off night from fellow All-Star Hope in Sabonis, who finished with a respectable 25 points, 10 boards and 5 assists, but made an incredible 8 turnovers and shot 7 for 19 from the floor and 6 for 13 in the restricted area. Carter certainly helped in the defensive finish in his minutes, but missed a bunch of rabbits.
6. The Pacers as a team shot only 20 for 37 in the forbidden area and 26 for 51 in the overall color. Even with the advantage of overtime, their 52 color points fell below their seasonal average of 53.6, which started the day third-placed in the NBA league.
7. Thad Young played from 4:35 in the third quarter with four fouls, never picking up another. But he pulled out more offensive fouls and anchored the Bulls at both ends for crucial moves, quick games and smart assists, finishing the competition with 13 points, 11 rebounds (5 offensive), 4 assists and 2 steals – his 15th NBA leader a flat game with theft.
8. The Bulls bench finished with a goal 37-19. Valentine made three three-pointers, and Tomáš Satoranský continued his tough game with 13 points and 4 assists (he averaged 4.6 inches in just 18.6 minutes per game since returning from COVID-19).
9. Garrett Temple got his second straight start and scored countless timely games, finishing with 16 points (2 for 4 3P) and a high +15 plus-minus.
10. In some respects, the size and physical advantage of the Pacers has been demonstrated. They finished with 14 blocked shots – 6 from Myles Turner – and a 31-22 advantage in free throw attempts.
But the Bulls canceled in a wonderful way, gaining a 60-47 advantage on the glass, including 13 offensive boards that turned into 25 second-chance points.
11. TJ McConnell, in particular, was a pest, finishing with 3 stolen balls, 2 blocks and a shot mark of 8 for 9 off the field. He bothered the Bulls balls all night, though they had better limit the damage from their coughs; after allowing 25 Pacers points with 20 turnovers on Dec. 26, the Bulls allowed 15 points 19 points in this one, while turning 19 Pacers turns into 21 of their own points.
12. The Whites, in particular, were burdened by the pressure of the ball, committing 3 turnovers in the first half. But he secured the ball until the end of the competition, finishing with 19 points, 8 assists and a series of timely spoons, even on the night outside the shot.
13. Luke Cornet had a 9-minute run at the reserve center, while Daniel Gafford enrolled in the DNP. Donovan turned to Cornet for spare minutes in Carter’s absence, he said, because of Cornet’s ability to stretch opponents with a size advantage. But Cornet shot 0 for 5 from depth on all clean looks.
14. Patrick Williams left the field after Jeremy Lamb awkwardly landed on his right foot in the middle of the second quarter. Slightly frightened, but Williams returned a little later, immediately taking the ball to the floor and knocking in an attempt to lay (which was blocked by Domantas Sabonis), blocking Malcolm Brogdon on the other side, then sinking the catch and shooting 3.
Williams fought most nights, shooting 2 for 10 from the floor but knocking down 9 rebounds, and raising 10 shots was a pride for Donovan after the game, as the Bulls fervently preached that Williams must be more aggressive in attack.
15. The win breaks a 10-game losing streak from the Pacers to the Bulls and represents their first win u Indiana since March 2016
Next: For Charlotte for the game with the Hornets on Wednesday.
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