clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bulls 104, Pacers 95: Murphy Leaves Game As Rose Leads Bulls In Second Half

New, comments

If there's one team that can cure any woes for any NBA right now, it appears to be the Indiana Pacers.

The Chicago Bulls, which have recently become the king of blowing double-digit leads, did it again Tuesday night in Chi-town, but after giving up their 19-point lead by the third quarter, Derrick Rose and the Bulls blew the roof off the United Center by rattling off a 16-2 run to end the third stanza, en route to a 104-95 victory over a Central Division foe. Rose scored 18 of his 28 points in the second half.

In a meeting between coaches who are circling the drain, at least in their fan's minds, Vinny Del Negro came out ahead as Pacers' coach Jim O'Brien again dealt with a shortage of players -- Tyler Hansbrough (inner ear infection) and Troy Murphy (left the game with a sprained ankle) -- and a team that got lost defensively and offensively during a crucial stretch in the third quarter.

After willing themselves out of another hole that started with a horrendous first-quarter performance, the blue and gold took their first lead of the game at the 6:53 mark of the third quarter on a trio of Mike Dunleavy free throws. The free throws capped off a stretch where Dunleavy, who's struggled mightily from the floor of late, scored nine consecutive points, and with Dahntay Jones added another two points on the next possession, the Pacers took a 72-71 lead midway through the third stanza.

But Murphy got tangled under the basket and limped to the locker room with Indiana clinging to that one-point lead. Apparently, Murph leaving the game was the only excuse the Pacers needed to deflate in all areas of the basketball court and allow the Bulls to manufacture a great basketball stretch that put the game out of reach by the start of the final period.

With team president Larry Bird firmly sticking behind his coach at the moment, the Pacers are stuck in no-man's land awaiting some kind of player movement. One thing is certain, the games are getting increasingly harder to stomach. The Pacers are now tied for the fourth-worst record in the league and with Murphy's injury likely keeping him off the floor in Wednesday's game, according to Mike Wells, and Hansbrough's return questionable, tomorrow night is setting up for another thriller.

Until then, check out more on tonight's game after the jump.

  • Rookie Tyler Hansbrough missed tonight's game due to an inner ear infection. His minutes affectionately went to Josh McRoberts, who had to be sucking air after this one. McBob's, who had only played 45 minutes this entire season up until Tuesday's game, garnered 27 minutes after the bench to Hansbrough's absence and Murphy's late injury. And His Beardness didn't disappoint. He nailed 4-of-6 shots, completed a sweet no-look, behind-the-back assist, had a crazy dunk on an alley-oop pass, hit his first career 3-pointer and was pretty much the best thing going from the mid-point of the third quarter to the final buzzer. And we wonder why this team is now tied for the fourth-worst record in the NBA...
  • The Pacers' defense continued to be a deterrent by allowing the opposing team easy looks and buckets. The Bulls, which had shot 42 percent on average so far this season, went lights out for 52 percent from the field (including a 14-of-21 first-quarter performance) and 60 percent from beyond the arc Tuesday. The Pacers' defense was so bad that it couldn't even stop the Bulls' from draining 22-of-24 free throws. 
  • Solomon Jones received the starting center nod for the first time this season. He scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting. The changeup allowed Roy Hibbert to ease into the game off the bench, and in 26 minutes, Hibby dropped in team-high 17 points and grabbed six boards. As much as I like Hibbert starting, he did seem to beam with more confidence in his post play and he played with a demeanor tonight that hasn't materialized much on the court lately. Of course, the change could also be attributed to the fact that he was playing against a fossilized Brad Miller in the post.
  • Luther Head won the point-guard battle again for the blue and gold, which saw a better effort and consistency from their three-headed point guard monster tonight. Head, T.J. Ford and Earl Watson combined for 29 points, 12 assists and four turnovers. That's about as good as it's getting right now. A.J. Price also got a peak at some action with a minute of play at the tail end of the contest.
  • Dunleavy had a comeback game, kind of. He led the resurgence of the third quarter by scoring nine-straight points, but he still struggled from the field (4-of-13) and disappeared shortly after his scoring outburst in the third. With only 22 minutes on the court, hopefully that helps him with the back-to-back game back in Conseco "Reggie Miller" Fieldhouse tomorrow.
  • As a team, the Pacers had only 10 turnovers tonight compared to the Bulls' 20 total giveaways. We'll take anything at this point.