Pacers Hand Bulls First Home Loss of the Season, 95-90

Pacers Hand Bulls First Home Loss of the Season, 95-90
Photo by Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune

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

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I also cover the Bulls for WestKentuckyStar.com

Comments

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  • yea, I really am not concerned about this loss, and hope others don't go all nuts on losing one game. A whole combination of things went wrong. Officiating for sure...Even though it looks like the box shows bulls with more offensive rebounds than Indiana, it seemed like they gave up more to the Pacers than usual...Horrible shooting night for Hamilton, Boozer and Watson, with basically nothing from Korver...one thing that seemed off was not running the offense through Rose in the 4th, when usually he is able to take over.

    The worst thing about this game is making Frank Vogel happy, does that guy annoy anyone else like he does me? I understand being confident in your team, but this guy really just pisses me off...I think I'm more excited for the next game against these Pacers than anything else, I want the Bulls to crush their confidence. From reading Sam Smith, seems like D Rose was pissed at how the Pacers celebrated and he's not going to forget it...

  • Great point about Vogel, if you saw him right after the game, you would have sworn they had just won a championship.

    Again, I give the Pacers credit- they were quicker to seemingly every loose ball, and they got physical with Derrick and the officials let them get away with it- that's not their fault.

    But Hamilton missed several open shots that he usually makes, and Boozer was just atrocious- if Taj had been healthy, I have no doubt that he would have gotten more minutes than Boozer last night, and the Bulls would have won.

    Another good thing, Derrick was definitely pissed off after the game- he seems to have the Jordan gene in that he hates to lose. It's one thing when you love to win, but everyone loves to win- it's that intense hatred of losing that makes the great ones great.

  • Thank you Don !! In my frustration in the car I told my daughters that I was going to write to KC Johnson - I've never seen so many new names in the NBA. I don't know the details ... if you do, I'd love to know more.

    To be fair, they just sucked for both teams - but yes, Rose especially was hurt by them eating those damn things (maybe their per diem $$ is down).

    Say what you want about Boozer's play against IN last year; he's healthy and still can't get his shot against the stronger, younger Hansbrough. I'll be watching the replay this afternoon.

    Completely agree on the losing gene! Well done - both of you.

    Vogel seems to have galvanized the team - they obviously dig him and play hard. But the gloating - it's game 20 people ... just past the quarter pole. It was a good time for this to pop up on the schedule with all the pathetic drech we've seen lately. The fun ride ends Thursday - then the fun starts. GAME ON BOYS!

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Yeah, there's two reasons I don't usually say much about the officiating:

    1, I think they do a good enough job in general. They don't have the help of instant replay- I think a coach should be able to use a TO to challenge a call at any time in the game, not just the refs using it in the last two minutes. They could do it like football- you get one or two challenges, and once you get one wrong you're done.

    B, it's hard, much harder than other sports. I officiate HS football and baseball, but I have no interest in doing basketball. To me, baseball is easy, and football usually you don't need to make a call unless it's blatant and effected the play. It's easy to not make a call. In basketball, for example the block/charge- you HAVE to make a call.

  • I think Boozer's tentativeness to take the ball strong inside is partially attributed to the number of offensive fouls he gets called for. The refs started taking notice and calling fouls on Boozer for using his off hand to clear space during the playoffs last year. This season, it seems like every time Boozer drives into the paint, the play either results in a weak lay-up attempt or a charge/offensive foul.

    Regardless, I'm not trying to dispute the claims that Boozer's athleticism is on the decline or that he relies on and takes way too many fade-away jumpshots for a player who has above average, low post abilities. The refs, I believe, just don't give Boozer the type of leeway other "big time" PFs like Love, Lee, Bosh, Gasol, Duncan and Garnett get.

    I'm not too concerned about the Indy loss; tough I wish Butler would have gotten more playing time before Deng's wrist injury because he looked lost on offense. Also seeing Scal play more minutes than everyone on the bench, except for Omer, makes me cringe. Vogel irritates me, but that has been the case since last year's playoff series. I'm just hoping that the Bulls get to see the Pacers in the playoffs, and Vogel goes off and announce to the world that Indy will sweep the series.

  • In reply to stepbackJ:

    Good points about Boozer, he does seem to get called for a lot of BS that most all-star caliber PFs get away with. The thing that bothered me last night was that he shot at least three fadeaways when he was wide open, all he needed to do was go straight up and he had easy shots.

    I don't mind the fadeaways from 10 feet or so when you have a man on you, but those last night were wide open.

  • David Schuster, on CSN, stated that DRose should have taken the ball to the basket because he was sure to get fouled.

    I stood up and screamed at the TV, "Yeah, but it wouldn't have gotten called you numbskull. Were you watching?"

    I forgot this earlier; I was at the UC early enough to watch the pre-game warmups. Korver has the most interesting shooting routine. He catches the ball behind the 3-pt line, sets, and shoots the ball one handed. From my center court 300 section seat, I thought it was about checking his release. Knee bend, wrist cock, lift, and release. He moved all the way around the circle. Just thought it was interesting.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Yeah, and if Scalabrine hits the shot, Rose gets all the praise for finding the wide-open man because he had all 5 defenders collapsing into the paint.

    Tim Legler on ESPN last night made a big point of how he didn't have a problem with it, that Scal can hit that shot and Rose made the right play.

    I haven't been to a game this season or last, so I've never seen Korver's pre-game routine, but it does sound different. I remember going to ATL in ~2003 and watching Tyson Chandler shoot 17-footers and make most of them during pre-game, and then he couldn't make one in a game to save his life. I never could figure that one out.

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. He attended Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround, The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters, SportsCenter anchor) . In addition to running Bullsville.net and ChicagoSportsWriters.com, and writing for ChicagoNow and SportsBlog.com, he is also a KHSAA and semi-pro baseball umpire. He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. Follow Don on Twitter @Bullsville.

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