The Chicago Bulls may have looked like a team on the second night of a back-to-back, but the Indiana Pacers finally came to play, imposing their will in a wire-to-wire victory over Chicago. The Pacers finally looked like a solid team, actually leading their charge with the defense. The Pacers held Chicago to 42% shooting and just 5-16 from three point range.
The Pacers were active and positioned well on that end of the floor, coming up with eight steals and nine blocks to go with 24 points off of 18 Bulls turnovers. Jeff Teague credited practice and film for the team's success on defense, but they instead played like a team that had a light switch turn on. At no point in this young season have the Pacers shown any attention on defense, but against a tired Bulls team at home was the perfect place to debut what will need to be a more consistent part of the team if they hope to be a team that can live up to their talent.
Teague also had a debut of sorts, piecing together his first good shooting night of the season, leading Indiana with 21 points on 9-14 shooting with three three pointers on the night. As a team the Pacers had an impressive night from deep, shooting 12-26, though all 12 coming between only four players. C.J. Miles continues his hot start to the season, hitting four as part of his 20 on the night, with Paul George hitting three and Aaron Brooks putting in a pair himself.
The bench continues to look for an identity without Rodney Stuckey as Al Jefferson's shooting struggles continue (and a less than impressive garbage time outing from Glenn Robinson III), but the play of Miles and Brooks have been a real bright spot and it was nice to see it rewarded with a winning effort. Pacers fans have seen good stretches from Miles before, but it's not often there's been a real bright spot in the backup guard spot, and Brooks has shown solid shot making abilities, especially with the ball.
Brooks had no assists, but it didn't keep Indiana from having 27 as a team on 46 field goals. Monta Ellis had a team high eight, bringing his two game total to 18. In those two games, Ellis has averaged only four points a game, giving up his scoring to involve his teammates, something that worked tonight. Paul George was the biggest benefactor of Ellis's passing, leading to 11 of George's 13 points, including all three three pointers George hit.
George was eventually ejected from the game when George kicked a ball after a foul call wound up hitting a fan in the stands. George immediately approached the young lady and apologized, but the damage was done. George was fortunate the ejection didn't cost the Pacers. George was quiet, but having a solid game, but Indiana responded with a 7-2 run to close the third after his ejection.
Myles Turner had 16 points, four rebounds, and four blocks, having the distinction of being one of only two Pacers to hit a free throw as Indiana shot a poor 7-12 from the line. It's not often a team can win by 17 when outscored by 13 from the free throw line (though the Bulls missed five free throws, biscuits!), but Indiana's offense was good as their defense, shooting 53.5 on the night, and setting the pace early with a 31-15 first quarter.
Indiana will hit the road again in search of their first road win of the season when they face the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. The Hornets are off to a quick 4-1 start, giving Indiana a tall task against a quality opponent. Even still, they'll have a shot if their defense travels, though the extent of George's punishment may complicate matters (but given George's lack of history, a fine will likely suffice).