Post-Game Grades: Indiana Pacers lead Chicago Bulls on slow-march to slaughter


The Indiana Pacers had little trouble beating the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. That is expected, as the Bulls are one of the worst teams in the NBA.

Thank God the Indiana Pacers are ran by Kevin Pritchard and owned by Herb Simon. That’s not to suck up to management, but at least they don’t continually make us sad. Jerry Reinsdorf lets the Bulls make him money while focusing elsewhere. Sure they won with Michael Jordan, but that seems more like a happy accident than a commitment to building good basketball teams.

The man who owns the team (and the Chicago White Sox) once said “Basketball is a game. Baseball is a religion. Baseball is American.” and it shows in the way he lets Gar Foreman and John Paxon run the team.

You can complain about how often Simon pays the luxury tax, or if Pritchard was too clever for his own good. But at least Simon sees legacy as keeping professional basketball in Indiana, and not in some other sport.

All of this is to preface that Friday’s night win didn’t reveal much to us about the Pacers. It reminded us of the Bulls poor management and how they’ve built a boring and unexciting team that is destined for a lotto pick.

Indiana kept running and gunning and showed us what we’ve seen before. Victor Oladipo and Bojan Bogdanovic can score. Domantas Sabonis can take you down in the post, Myles Turner can shoot, and Thaddeus Young is steady as ever.

No complaints as the Pacers beat a bad team. Even if you have low expectations for Indiana, beat the Bulls should be one of them.

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The Good: The Pacers actually had their full roster, sans Glenn Robinson III. With Myles Turner missing as much time as he did with his concussion, building chemistry and solidifying the rotation is still on the to-do list for Indiana.

Despite tonight illuminating little, seeing trends continue — such as Bojan bombing shots from deep, and Cory Joseph, too — is an encouraging sign if nothing else.

The Bad: T.J. Leaf still can’t play defense, but he is still young. He can shoot though, so there is a place for him as long as he learns passable defense one day.

MVP: Bojan Bogdanovic for keeping his hot shooting streak ablaze. The Bulls couldn’t stop him from going 6 of 9 on the night and his 22 points trailed only Victor Oladipo’s 25.

With the exception of one game, his 3-point shooting percentage was no worse than 40% in the last eight games. Bojan is shooting 51.2% in that stretch on just over five attempts a game.

LVP: Leaf is we had to pick one, but this wasn’t a game where you pick one.

X-Factor: Cory Joseph and the second unit — including Lance Stephenson — are starting to put things together after all the chaos to start the season. CoJo is working more off the ball in the last few games and giving Lance a few shots at being Lance, for better or worse.

It isn’t as if he is changing roles as much as there seems to be an effort to let Lance be Lance.

C. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER. C. 11 points and 9 rebounds are acceptable for Myles Turner but is he doesn’t look 100% comfortable out there yet. Keep in mind he missed seven games while the rest of the crew were building chemistry.

A. Got back to what he does best and finished the night with 25 points on 11 of 20 shooting. Oladipo attacked the paint and found 18 of his points there.. SG. Indiana Pacers. VICTOR OLADIPO

B. Don’t mind Thaddeus Young as he quietly racks up 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. He didn’t have his best night against the Pistons, but against the Bulls, he bounced back.. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG

A+. Bojan Transitionovic scored 12 of his points on the run.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

Only 3 points and 7 assists, but that partially comes from everyone else doing the heavy lifting.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON. B

B-. 8 points and 9 rebounds, as well as a little foul trouble.. PF/C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS

C. Not a bad night as there were some highlights to match some of his lowlights.. SG. Indiana Pacers. LANCE STEPHENSON

10 points and 7 assists for Cojo. Knocked down 2 of his 6 attempts from range.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH. B

Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF. C-. A mostly forgettable 6 minutes.. PF