Pacers Links: Bulls outwork Pacers to end preseason play

Jerry Schultheiss-US PRESSWIRE

Pacers let Bulls dictate to start final tune-up game.

The Indiana Pacers dropped their final preseason game to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night in South Bend. No harm in losing to the Bulls, a team that remain talented and consistently prepared to play under Tom Thibodeau even without Derrick Rose.

Fortunately this was a meaningless preseason game, but what we saw from the Pacers to start the game could generate meaningful concern if it carries over to the regular season. The Bulls just outworked the Pacers in the first quarter which set the tone for the game. Quick to loose balls, beating the Pacers on the glass, winning the battle of little things that help tip the game toward the winner.

A stark reminder that the Pacers have plenty of talent in place but remain a team that has to play with energy. They need to take the fight to opponents and then execute as a team unit. Frank Vogel's "smashmouth" philosophy encompasses all of those things combined. It isn't merely being physical as a team, but being relentless in attacking at both ends of the floor. Wearing out opponents with effort.

On Friday, the Bulls were the "smashmouth" that had the Pacers chasing them from behind all night. At least the Pacers showed some fight to work their way back within one possession late in the fourth quarter. Since the loss didn't matter, that effort to work through the final buzzer was nice to see. Too bad it came too late.

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