Once again the Pacers left the United Center frustrated and crying foul after a two-point loss to the Bulls. The Pacers have now lost two games to the Bulls in Chicago by a total of three points but only have themselves to blame after blowing a two-possession lead in the final minute of regulation.
The loss was a game of inches which saw the Bulls make finishing plays the Pacers weren't able to match. In OT, Pau Gasol threw a lob just out of reach of Paul George yet still three feet from the rim, but Jimmy Butler was able to softly volleyball tap the ball into the rim which was simply a remarkable play.
But the Pacers lack of execution on two of their last three possessions in regulation did the damage. First, George Hill lost his dribble and the ball out of bounds when the Pacers still had a three-point lead. The Bulls cashed in the donation and tied the game. Then the Pacers had a final shot for the lead, left it in Paul George's hands and when the Bulls switched off a screen and PG passed out to Monta Ellis for a rushed 35-footer. The chance to win was on the table and the Pacers couldn't grab it, let alone create a decent shot with plenty of time to do so.
To compound the lost opportunity, the Pacers added to their injury woes when Ian Mahinmi left the game for good in the third quarter with a sore left knee. Mahinmi joins Jordan Hill (dental work) and C.J. Miles (sore lower back) on the injury report as questionable to play against Milwaukee on Thursday evening.
Jordan Hill's "injury" isn't a concern but the status of Miles and Mahinmi could be if it lingers past tonight. As we prep for New Year's Eve, here's to positive medical updates!
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