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Pacers Links: Bulls keep Pacers offense sputtering on the road

The Pacers never found their offensive rhythm at the United Center which left the Bulls dancing with delight while earning their win.

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After the Pacers and Bulls split a home-and-home series over the past four days, I think it is safe to say that home court advantage in the playoffs is critical for the Pacers. Wow, these two games played out differently in the two different gyms.

From the officiating to the level of play from each team on the other's court, the difference was drastic. The Pacers lost by 12 points but, just as their 13-point win felt like 20-plus, it seemed like they never had a chance in the second half. Although it wouldn't take long to go through the game and find a minimum of six possessions that could've easily gone the other way to even things up. Of course, that would be a torturous process, being forced to look at all of those dumped opportunities again.

And don't bother with the officiating. While you could technically point to several head-scratching calls, the Pacers did nothing to attack and earn the benefit of the doubt on calls throughout the game. You go soft, officials start to expect it and force you to finish plays before getting a whistle.

The Pacers had a chance to wrap up the Central Division, but the Bulls played with far more motivation. Not only did Chicago want to avenge the loss in Indy, but they also didn't want the Pacers clinching the Central on their home floor. Mission accomplished for the Bulls.

Meanwhile in Miami, the Heat made a pair of late plays to secure a two-point win over Portland and draw within two games of the Pacers. If they leave the Fieldhouse on Wednesday with a win, the teams will be deadlocked in the loss column. As we saw last night, home court advantage means more to the Pacers so if they can't defend it on Wednesday against the Heat, their early-season work will finally fall by the wayside.

Check the links:

Pacers at Bulls - Box score

Game Rewind: Pacers 77, Bulls 89 | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Punchless Pacers flattened in Chicago - 1070 The Fan

David West: Pacers 'look like (expletive)' in loss to Bulls

Gibson scores 23, leads Bulls past Pacers 89-77 - AP

Mark's Mailbag: NBA Refereeing, Rules of the Game and Paul George's Recent Performances | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Pacers, Heat look more desperate than dominant - 1070 The Fan

Joakim Noah, Bulls bully their way past Pacers | CSN Chicago

Chicago Bulls Taj Gibson dominates in 'dogfight' against Pacers - ESPN Chicago

Taj Gibson bounces back against Pacers | CSN Chicago

Pacers vs. Bulls recap: Chicago blasts Indiana at the United Center - Blog a Bull

Paul George is trying hard to make the black leather suit happen -

Indiana Pacers' Paul Geroge denies 'Catfish' story

Post-Game Grades: Pacers Play Horrible, Get Beat by Bulls - 8 Points, 9 Seconds Jack Ya Body (How the Bulls put some Classic House Music on the Pacers)

Mr. Pacer: Pacers offense offensive in loss to Bulls

HEAT squeak by Trail Blazers 93-91 with LeBron game winner and Bosh block - Hot Hot Hoops

Future NBA stars don't need their college coaches -