The Pacers undefeated start was no help when the Bulls put up 60 points in the first half on Saturday night at the UC. After playing like contenders throughout their 9-0 start and often ramping it up to playing like champs, the Pacers played the part of pretenders against the Bulls.
Shook by a bad start and the precise attack at both ends from Chicago, the Pacers were left hunting for something that just wasn't there. No, not a friendly whistle. What was missing was the resolve to get off the deck, come together and take a few swings back.
Paul George and Lances Stephenson ignited many a big, highlight-filled run throughout the 9-0 start, but the pair look like overwhelmed 23-year-old players when early frustrations set in. Things went from bad to worse when they tried to press and make things happen that were out of their comfort zone. At least both have shown a strong desires to learn from their past failures.
If you're looking for good news, the Bulls did put forth an exceptional effort at both ends. Derrick Rose entered the game making just 25% of his three-point attempts, but ended up only MISSING 25% of his first eight attempts from behind the arc before finishing 6 for 11 on the night to score 18 of his 20 points from downtown. I'll take Rose launching 11 threes and not scoring in the lane any day. On this day, he was just too good.
Also, Roy Hibbert continued his strong play and against Joakim Noah who is always a challenging matchup. Noah isn't moving around as easily as he once did, but regardless, Hibbert is far more comfortable with how to play around the rim against the Bulls and that is nice to see.
Plus, Chris Copeland turned extended garbage time into a solid effort which should make it easy to for Frank Vogel to call his number when the Pacers needs some buckets. Copeland has made six of his last eight three-point shots in the last three games.
So at night's end, the Pacers and Bull are 1-1 in the season series which will have to wait until late March when they play two games in four days. Yep, that outta be fun.
Now the Pacers have three days to stew in the salty juices of their first loss before heading to New York to take on the Knicks. Two days later they face the Boston Celtics. Madison Square Garden and the Boston Garden are never easy places to go in and expect a win, but with the way both the Knicks and C's have started the season, if the Pacers are remain serious about earning the top seed in the East, these are the types of games they have to put in the W column.
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