The Chicago Bulls used a 10-0 second quarter run to put the Indiana Pacers in a hole they'd struggle the rest of the night to climb out of. Mike Dunleavy has 19 first half points as Chicago opened up a 14-point second quarter lead, but the Pacers closed the half with a pair of buckets to slice into the lead, trailing by just 10. The Pacers continued to struggle defensively in the first half, with Dunleavy having free reign as Chicago outscored Indiana 13-4 in fast break points.
The Pacers finally opened up in the third quarter, but a 7-2 Bulls run to close the quarter erased most of their goodwill, pushing them back down by eight after cutting the lead to three. The Bulls got late third and early fourth quarter pushes from Nikola Mirotic, who led the Bulls with 25 on the night. Chicago led by double figures, but back-to-back C.J. Watson threes cut the lead to six.
With the ball down six, Watson was swatted at the rim, setting up Kirk Hinrich for a three as part of a five-point swing. Indiana's play in the fourth quarter left much to be desired in terms of shot selection, but it would've taken a perfect fourth to keep them from extending their losing streak to three. The Pacers shot just _% on the night and were outrebounded by 14, falling in the final quarter 25-16 as the Bulls pulled out the 103-96 victory.
Indiana struggled to get consistent scoring from anyone While six Pacers reached double figures, it was Solomon Hill who led the Pacers with 13 points. As a whole, Indiana continues to struggle in finding stops. While Chicago shot 41.5%, the pace of the game gave Chicago quarter point totals of 24, 27, 25, and 25, far from what Indiana needs in coming up with wins.
Around the league, the Miami Heat won tonight, giving them a one game cushion for 7th place in the East, but also with the Boston Celtics losing, keeps them tied with Indiana, but a tiebreaker in head-to-head matchups gives them the 8th spot. Indiana has work to do in hopes of stopping their three game skid, traveling to Cleveland on Friday night for the regular season finale with the Cavaliers.