Post-Game Grades: Pacers Manhandle Bulls, Move to 2nd in the East


During the first four months of the 2013-14 season, the Indiana Pacers consistently wore down their opponents by simply being better. Their defense was smothering, their offense was good enough, and Frank Vogel and Paul George would gradually take over each game.

While the Pacers have been great as of late, it’s been a while since they submitted a 48-minute long, “We’re simply better than you” performance. Friday night against the Bulls was a bit of a statement game for Indiana. They didn’t need an out-of-body experience from 3-pt range. They didn’t need to overcome a six-minute dry spell on offense. In every facet of the game, the Pacers were better.

George Hill made Derrick Rose disappear defensively. CJ Miles fought hard against the taller Nikola Mirotic on both ends and continued his hot shooting from the nation’s capitol with 16 first half points. Ian Mahinmi outplayed both Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah on both sides of the floor. Monta Ellis attacked the basket relentlessly. And Paul George. Well, what is there left to say about the guy, other than, “he’s THE GUY.”

The Good:

Every facet of the game. The starters played well. The bench outperformed their counterparts. The defense was stellar all night. The offense hummed, posting two 30-point quarters. Frank Vogel thoroughly outcoached Fred Hoiberg. It wasn’t really a sexy win. Indiana was just better, and it was wonderful.

The Bad:

Well, I guess Chase Budinger was pretty bad in the first half. But even his poor performance paved the way for another player to gain a little bit of redemption on this late November evening.

Game MVP:

Paul George and Ian Mahimni were equally valuable in different ways. The Pacers were without Jordan Hill and Myles Turner Friday night, and their prospects looked bleak heading into the matchup against the huge front line of Chicago with only two big men. Mahimni more then held his own, though, on both ends of the floor. He mostly stayed out of foul trouble and even proved to be a decent threat as the roll man in several Pacers pick and rolls. Paul George was ruthless all night, suffocating Jimmy Butler defensively while also raining in multiple difficult shots with two and three hands in his face. His final 3-pointer near the end of the fourth quarter was the triumphant and fulfilling dagger.


Solomon Hill came in near the end of the third quarter in an important moment for the Pacers. Nikola Mirotic was heating up a little bit, Ian Mahimni had just picked up a fourth foul, and the Bulls were on the verge of getting back into the game. Hill came in and locked up Mirotic on defense. Then, he made two great drives into the lane, leading to open jumpers for the Pacers. Indiana came into the night shorthanded, needing somebody to step up, and Solomon Hill was up for the challenge.

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