If you were watching tonight's Bulls/Pacers game and thinking "am I the only one who thinks the officiating sucks in this game", let me clear your mind and reassure you that you're definitely not alone.
Danny Granger's 22 points led six Pacers in double figures, and Indiana overcame a 10 point halftime deficit to defeat the Chicago Bulls 95-90 on Wednesday.
Roy Hibbert added 20 points, David West had 14, Paul George 13, Darren Collison 11 and Tyler Hansbrough 10 as Indiana handed the Bulls their first home loss of the season. The Bulls' 8-0 start on their home floor was the franchise's best since the Michael Jordan era. Ironically, the Bulls became the last NBA team to lose a home game one night after the Pacers lost their first home game of the season to Orlando.
Derrick Rose scored 24 points to lead the Bulls, and Ronnie Brewer- starting in place of the injured Luol Deng- had 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Rose should have had 8-10 more points, but the officials refused to call a foul when he went strong to the rim.
Not that they lost this game because of the officials- there was plenty of blame to go around.
Rip Hamilton added 17 points for the Bulls, but he hit only six of his 20 shots from the field. But for the most part he was getting good shots, however like the rest of the team he was missing a lot of shots he usually makes.
Carlos Boozer was downright horrible in this game- he had 11 points, but it came of 5/14 shooting. At least four of those misses came on shots when Boozer had a wide-open jumper but instead of going up straight, he decided to shoot a fadeaway.
His defense was even worse, you know when you are getting pulled for Brian Scalabrine on defense, you are stinking up the entire gymnasium. I can guarantee you that Thibs is pushing Taj Gibson to get back on the floor as quickly as possible. The good news is that he says he wants to play Friday, but that he'll be back for the Miami game on Sunday at the latest.
The only real positive on the night was Joakim Noah's continued re-emergence as an All-Star caliber center. He had another double-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists. He struggled a little on defense, but Roy Hibbert is 7'3", he can get his hook shot off over anyone. The Bulls should have double-teamed him more as he isn't much of a passer out of the low post, but Coach Thibodeux chose to play him straight up.
I guess another small positive is that the Bulls still have the best record in the East at 16-4.
This game was a matchup between two of the top six defenses in the league, but in the first half both teams shot at least 50% from the field. But the Bulls forced Indiana into 11 first half turnovers in taking a 54-44 lead at halftime.
The Bulls were very active on defense in the first half- the second half, however, was a different story. The Bulls struggled from the field, shooting only 30.6%, and the Pacers committed only two turnovers in the final 24 minutes.
The Pacers also got every loose ball in the second half, which isn't surprising because this is a team that wanted revenge for losing to the Bulls four games to one in last season's playoffs. They were also coming off an embarassing home loss to Orlando in which they allowed the Magic to hit 13 three-pointers on 41% shooting from behind the arc.
The Pacers won the third quarter 31-20 to take a one point lead, and pushed their lead to as much as seven with just over four minutes left in the game. The Bulls made a final push, however, cutting the lead to 92-90 in the final minute.
But after David West missed a short jumper, Brian Scalabrine missed a wide-open three, and the Pacers grabbed another loose ball on the scramble that ensued.
I don't blame Rose for getting the ball to Scalabrine- with the officials refusing to call a foul when Derrick went strong to the hole, it was the right move to pass to the only open player on the floor.
Scalabrine is a career 35% shooter on 3's, he just left this one a little short.
The Bulls host Milwaukee on Friday before embarking on a season-long nine game road trip. The good thing about this trip is that after opening with a pair of back-to-backs, the Bulls will play the last five games with a day's rest.
It also helps that they don't travel west of New Orleans in the two weeks they'll be away from the United Center.
Bullsville Radio Post-Game Show
I also cover the Bulls for WestKentuckyStar.com