Post-Game Grades: Bulls Give Pacers the Bizness

Miserable. Derrick Rose warned the Pacers that this would happen and, after shooting a woeful 1-for-9 in the first half, he delivered on his promise. Both he and Luol Deng orchestrated a third-quarter rout, during which the Bulls’ two perimeter All-Stars hit 5 combined three-pointers to help their team out-score Indiana by 20.

When you are a team — even a good team — that is headed to play the conference’s (and maybe the NBA’s) best squad on its home floor for the second time in a month, no one really should expect you to win. The Pacers have set the “road warrior” bar pretty high by winning in Chicago, Los Angeles (against the Lakers), Dallas, Orlando and Boston in the early part of this season. So it was certainly a win that felt within reach even as the Pacers sat on a one-point lead at halftime. But losing this game isn’t a problem.

Getting your ass handed to you while getting outscored 50-29 over the final 24 minutes is, however. One loss, even if it’s a 92-72 loss to a division rival, in the middle of a truncated schedule isn’t going to make or break this team, but they have to be a little embarrassed and somewhat, at least temporarily, demoralized.

Silver lining: they have plenty of opportunities to make up for it. Tomorrow they play the Hawks at home then it’s match-ups against Miami, Orlando, Portland, Philly, New York (twice) and Los Angeles (Lob City edition). There isn’t a cupcake in the bunch so they should be able to get a big win or two. Or, ya know, maybe get demoralized a few more times.

Here is how each guy played individually tonight. Agree? Disagree? Express your thoughts below in the comments or yell at me (@8pts9secs) or Tim (@TimDonahue8p9s) on Twitter.

David West - 34 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS
Another sub-50% shooting night while rimming out a bunch of herky-jerky attempts from inside 10 feet. Seemed helpful in keeping Chicago out of the paint while the game was still a game.
Danny Granger - 31 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS
Out of sorts. He missed many an inside shot while generally being awkward with his dribble and made poor, hesitant decisions that rarely improved his team’s chances to score as the shot clock ticked away. Some good D.
Roy Hibbert - 25 MIN | 1-6 FG | 7 REB | 4 AST | 3 BLK | 2 PTS
Got into some foul trouble that probably wasn’t his fault, but that’s no excuse for a 2-point performance. Got badly out-muscled by Noah all night.
Darren Collison - 31 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 PTS
Played some good lead defense on a team defensive effort that held Derrick Rose to 1-for-9 shooting in the first half. Did nothing else well.
Paul George - 33 MIN | 8-17 FG | 5-5 FT | 1 REB | 2 STL | 21 PTSThe only Pacer starter who played well, scoring in the paint and getting to the line. With 0 3-pointers, his 21 pts represent one of his more aggressive games. And his defense was mostly superb.

Dahntay Jones - 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS
Don’t really recall him being on the court.
Louis Amundson - 13 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS
Nice little game to help the second-unit get some buckets in the first half.
A.J. Price - 17 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1-4 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS
Not good. One highly ill-advised three taken early in the shot clock the possession following one of his teammates doing the same thing. Your point guard can’t do that.
George Hill - 25 MIN | 6-12 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS
Dropped 10 early and was the only bright spot in this one other than the guy he backs up at SG. Too bad the starters wasted his good effort by getting blown out in the 3rd quarter.
Tyler Hansbrough - 25 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0 FT | 3 STL | 6 REB | 2 PTS
Hard to even be shocked when he throws up all over himself for 25 mins at a time at this point. Aside from his season-high 22-point night on Feb. 22, he is shooting 36.5% (19-for-52) since Feb. 10.

Tags: Losing To Chicago

  • JRC

    I know he had foul trouble and thus, limited minutes, but the Pacers have to get more from Hibbert in games like this. Usually he does well against the Bulls. The defense looked a little uncoordinated in the third, but Chicago was hitting some circus shots at that point, too. It’s just one game – one game the Pacers probably shouldn’t have won anyway. However, for people to take them seriously, they need to steal at least a couple games in this tough stretch.

  • NoLookPass

    We needed more George’s on the team for sure, Danny should have a lower grade after he started 3-for-3 from the field he vanished going 1 for his next 11 and only got 1 rebound in a game full of misses.

  • Emosnar

    I can’t truly put my finger on what this team is missing. Sometimes I think nothing, just let them keep playing together, add a few pieces to the strengthen bench and be done with it. They play solid defense as a team but tonight’s game showed me some things. First off in high intense defensive games, Danny Granger cannot dribble. He becomes hesitant and relys on the J that can be hot and cold. Im not sure Collison is the answer at PG. Where are the assist? David West is David West. We are going to get solid nights from a vet on the decline of his career. We shouldn’t expect huge games but solid ones. I think its time to unleash Geezy Hill and Paul Geezy, too bad they both play the same position. I say move Hill to starting PG but then you wouldnt have any fire power off the bench. You could move George to SF and Hill to SG and let Granger come off the bench and shoot all he wants with the second unit, I think with Hill in the game, the tempo is controlled, they play smarter. You can run plays more effectively. You can still add Granger to the starting unit in the 4th qtr but slide Hill to PG and let Collision sit mos the 4th. You have Hill and George, attacking as starters like they did tonight vs the Bulls. They showed no fear and took the challenge head on. All the starter except George crumbled in the third especially, although Deng cut to the basket on George at will when he wanted, The loss is fixable. The first half you can build on.
    I still think we can beat the bulls in a playoff series and it will be this year but ti truly be elite, do we have enough? I think the answer may be trading Collision for Steve Nash, just don’t think we are pushing it that hard no is Nash interested but he would get this offense clicking on all cylinders. Hibbert needs a solid back up at center and it would be great to have Mayo. Only the future will tell, but honestly right now I see us making big noise in the playoffs but thats about it. How do we get to the titles?

  • Realist

    Good question, how do we get to the title?

    Offer D-Will max money in the off-season. He’s a decent size and obviously a star PG who would be in command of a pretty damn good team, but he would still be the best player which I think matters to him. Granger becomes the gun second option where he’s probably more of a fit. Williams/George/Granger/West/Hibbert *could* win a title. Probably not as talented as Miami but right up there with CHI and OKC, I reckon. Anyway, that’s obviously pipe-dream stuff. D-Will looks like he’s gonna be going to Dallas and/or with Howard.

    Nash would also work, but obviously has less of a window. I don’t think we lose anything defensively cause it’s not like DC ever stopped anybody.

    Granted, we’re probably getting a little ahead of ourselves, considering last year we finished 37-45 and luckboxed 8th spot, and now we’re talking about how frustrating 3rd/4th is. It probably just speaks volumes about how much the boys have rejuvenated our faith.

    But for now, I agree with Emosnar. I also think at times “Larry Bird, don’t touch anything, this can really work” then at other times I’m like “ugh, we’re never gonna win with ” etc. I think you’re about right and our ceiling as it stands right now is going deep in the Conference Semis or so. Maybe a Game 7 like Memphis last year. That seems about fair.

  • NoLookPass

    We need a pass first PG to set up the offense badly! Would be nice to somehow keep DC and reunite the combination of him and Tyler that seemed to work well last year but a upper tier PG seems like a must to put us over the top as real contenders even if it costs us both of those guys.

  • MCR

    That was ugly. Especially disappointed that Granger completely disappeared. And we couldn’t buy a bucket in that third quarter. I wanted this one, especially after that nice first half, but…well…yeesh, that was ugly.

  • little B

    Major stats that effected outcome of game: outrebounded 32-60. Pacers 3/16 on 3 pointers, Bulls 9/15 on 3 pointers(Derrick Rose hitting 3 of those) It felt like everyone ball bounced off the rim into a bulls hands or in the rim for the bulls for a basket. Also I feel like the Pacers never get a foul call when they are driving, but whenever the Bulls (or another team the pacers play) get near the basket they got a foul call, especially if Hibbert was down low (which I have said a few times this year, if Hibbert is in foul trouble the Pacers can’t win against a good team.) No offense to Amundson, who is outplaying Hansborough right now.

    Also Did anyone feel that the ball movement was better/quicker around when Hill was in the game instead of collison? Just seemed like people were getting better looks when he was in. Even though hill was firing up shots last night (which I’m glad to see because he is going to have to since no one esle can score on the bench). There were a couple times he got West the ball and West had plenty of time to take a jumper and instead “Another sub-50% shooting night while rimming out a bunch of herky-jerky attempts from inside 10 feet”-Jared Wade.

    George (aka Granger jr.) Did it not feel like George just acted like Danny Last night? Got the ball, didn’t move it around(had some poor shot selection, almost like you could tell which ones he would miss or make when he was taking the shots) only had 1 rebound. Looks even more awkward that granger driving to basket. I mean George had a good game, but it seems like when they tell him to take more shots he goes from 8 shots a game to 18 shots and takes Kobe Bryant type fade aways.

    I didn’t expect Pacers to win this game (can’t expect them to win them all), so not worried. One step at a time. I will be happy if they are the 4 seed going into the playoffs. Starts with the ATL tonight. GO PACERS.

  • little B

    To finish on last statement: Still dissappointing since Pacers were up at half and played so well and shut Rose down the first half, but still seemed like Rose pretty much only played 1 quarter and the bulls outscored the Pacers by over 20 points that quarter.

  • Chris D.

    I didn’t expect to win this game necessarily, but it was seriously telling to see Danny and Roy disappear in a game where they needed to make the statement that “We aren’t to be taken lightly even on the road.” We now need to see how they respond at home vs. the Hawks and when the Bulls come back. The Bulls ginned up some indignation over the Pacers alleged celebration. Well, the Bulls absolutely spit in the Pacers faces when they put Scalabrine in the game. We’ll see how the Blue and Gold respond when the Bulls come to town 4/25. Hopefully, Bulls fans haven’t bought all the spare tickets, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they have.

  • Ed Ward

    As a Bulls fan, I’ll have to admit that the Pacers are a very, very tough team, the kind of team that makes my stomach turn a little 30 minutes before tipoff – and will continue to advance further and further into the playoffs until it’s their time.

  • Ian

    I guess I picked the wrong night to finally get NBA league pass!

    The announcers nailed it on the head. In the 3rd, when things started going in the dumpster, the Pacers played faster and faster instead of slower and slower. They let the Bulls get in transition, opening up 3s, and they were burning a lot of energy to little or no effect. In one of those timeouts Vogel needed to tell them to start working the shot clock and walking it up the court. Instead we get a couple bad perimeter shots that led to easy transition buckets. Yeah, a couple of those 3s were insane, but the transition play let the Bulls players get in a groove and get the crowd behind them which really drove them on.

    Something needs to be done about Tyler. Maybe he needs a chance of venue? To a team that is thin up front and where he could start with low pressure? Maybe to the Bobcats or something. The Pacers need a reliable big off the bench and they don’t have that right now.

    The Pacers also looked tired, which is odd, since the Bulls were on the 2nd night of a back to bakc while the Pacers were rested. This is the 2nd time we’ve since this kind of performance (remember the Miami game where Miami was at the end of a back-to-back-to-back and had 10x the energy of the Pacers). No easy explanation there.

  • Him

    I have to say, it’s not like we were expected to beat the Bulls again. But save for one quarter, we may have. Beating the Bulls in Chicago once was a tall order, twice would have put the Chicago media in an asylum. Don’t fear for this team just because they lost to the second best team in the league. Beat the Hawks!

  • dwain

    open yer stance as wide as it will go, stick yer butt out and duck yer head, Tyler is about 4 foot tall when he does all this and there is no way he can do anything offensively, put the man in a brace….
    i don’t know whom it was that were wearing those uniforms in the second half, sure wasn’t Pacers. Pacers never lay down and die, mope around the court, i can understand getting beat when u give all u got…but not even showing up when a team is doing their best to give u a game?

  • AMFinocchi

    I’m not worried. If we the 4 games in a season as a playoff series, we would be 2-1 with one game to be played at home. In fact, I’m proud of what the Pacers did the first game at Chicago and the first half last night. The third quarter? It was Chicago’s ceiling at home, what would you expect? It’s true that Granger and Collison were dissapointing, and that Hibbert was fouled too soon, and that Tyler doesn’t found his game, but it’s a logic game to lose. Now, we GOT to beat the Hawkes, and more important, beat the Magic in Orlando. I know Indiana has no chance to beat the Heat at Miami right now, so I would use the bench a lot, and save energy to beat Orlando, because if we do, we can make an 9 game streak before meet Miami at home (Philly at home should be a tough W, and if the Celtics won in NY, why wouldn’t we?. The other matchs are all very ‘winable’).

  • adam

    Here’s a crazy thought…
    Pacers pluck Chris Kaman from NO for cash and/or draft pick.

    The obvious choice is to have Kaman coming off teh bench to back up Hibbert, but what if we
    Start DC, PG, DG, CK & RH?

    off the bench with Price, Hill, Jones, Hans & West
    Twin towers in the starting lineup, giving us a “Big 3″ of West, Hans & Hill coming off the bench…..

  • poot

    i like Kaman but you’re off your rocker with the idea that he could start over West.

    Pacers have a great team, they are just missing a starting point guard. Collison is the ideal change-of-pace 20-24 mpg type sub, on this team he could go for 6th man awards. I’d love for the Pacers to keep DC and add Nash, A.Miller, or Kidd. What a huge instant upgrade… with one of those guys that third quarter swoon does not happen last night, the Pacers play at the correct rhythm, stay in the game when the Bulls get hot, then take advantage with the DC led bench, far superior to the Bulls bench….