The Indiana Pacers lost 92-73 to the Chicago Bulls, but to be honest, I don’t feel too bad about it.
The Bulls were hot and on a five-game winning-streak entering their encounter with the Pacers. The Pacers were without their leading scorer Danny Granger (ankle). They fell behind early 14-2 as the Bulls simply could not miss.
But the Pacers, despite an obvious disadvantage in talent, slowly clawed their way back through hustle plays and defense, and they actually took the lead just before the half with the second of two Josh McRoberts’ put-back slams.
The Bulls threatened to pull away several times in the second half, but the Pacers managed to stay close most of the way until the last few minutes, when they finally ran out of steam and the Bulls pulled away.
An awful performance overall, but the Pacers scrapped hard against a better team and didn’t embarrass themselves tonight, especially when they were missing their best player and leading scorer.
With Granger out, Rush tried to take over the scoring load, but he shot just 5-17 from the field to end up with 13 ponts. TJ Ford was the Pacers’ best player in this one, also scoring 13 points with 4 assists. The big disappointment tonight was Roy Hibbert, who just couldn’t get it going tonight, playing just 20 minutes and finishing with 6 points and 3 rebounds on 2-7 shooting. This has been a bad stretch for Roy.
Derrick Rose played okay. He had foul trouble earlier in the game but finished with 17 points and 12 assists. He did turn his ankle in the fourth and then flew right into and then over Brandon Rush on a drive late in the game. Fortunately, he only suffered a sprained wrist.
As I predicted, the Pacers fall below 0.500 with an 11-12 record, and the games actually get tougher from here. On Wednesday, the Pacers take on the Lakers at home. The Pacers shocked the Lakers in LA a few weeks ago, but that was then nobody noticed them, the Lakers were playing bad, and the Pacers were on a high. This time it won’t be so easy.