Paul George has been frustrated and critical of the Pacers defense, not seeing what he's used to on that end of the floor prior to playing the Bulls.
But after a long film session which many players and Coach McMillan referenced, explaining that the "tape don't lie," the collective defensive effort improved greatly.
"Defensively we were solid from start to finish," McMillan said. "These guards, Wade and Rondo are among the best on in the league, we did a good job of getting pressure on the ball. Our weakside was in tight and connected."
PG liked what he saw away from the ball, as well. Of course, after an odd ejection late in the third quarter, George was able to watch his team close out the win and remain strong without him.
"We were just great on our weakside help," George said. "They didn't get any easy looks on the perimeter. Take our last game against Milwaukee, when they had almost 40 points off dunks. Tonight we didn't allow good looks, I thought everything contested and everything was tough in the paint."
The Pacers were also more deliberate on the offensive end, taking transition opportunities when they arose but no longer trying to force transition shots that are not there. McMillan is stressing no taking a quick shot if not within a fast break opportunity since missing those types of shots have led to easy buckets the other way, putting pressure on the defense.
Following the game, McMillan noted two of those types of shots. He didn't name names but the first was by Myles Turner who walked into a three pointer, seven seconds into the possession. Then the next possession, Paul George took a rebound and shot a three, four seconds later.
This during an opening stretch of the third quarter when the Pacers were scoreless for the first four minutes. While the Bulls made a little dent in the lead it could've been worse. This is why McMillan wants to tweak the fast-paced mentality, trying to incorporate some hoop smarts by playing the situation. With a double-digit lead, quick shots that could come at any time, are a good way to lose a lead in a hurry.
But the defense was the story of the night and made a weary Bulls team eventually roll over and go away for the night.
Now we'll see if the Pacers can take that D on the road where they have a league worst defensive efficiency, allowing 117 points per 100 possession.
-Monta Ellis led the Pacers in minutes played but only took two shots. Instead of attacking the hoop, Ellis played the role of facilitator teaming up with Jeff Teague to handle point guard duties and finishing with 8 assists, 7 rebounds and only one turnover.
-Speaking of Teague, the Pike product finally settled down at home, scoring 21 points on 14 shots with 6 assists. Teague also made 3 of 5 three-pointers.
-C.J. Miles continued his strong play among the reserve unit, with 4 three-pointers and 20 points. Miles is now third on the team in scoring with 14.5 ppg off the bench.
-Myles Turner looked much better defending the post when not collecting one of his 4 blocks on the night. He also seemed a little more deliberate in the post on a couple of occasions. He’s still rushing shots at times, but did draw a few trips to the free throw line.