Indiana Pacers (51-18) 91
Chicago Bulls (38-31) 79
It’s a win for the Indiana Pacers this evening as they put away the Chicago Bulls, and hopefully can string some more victories to finally show that they’re ready for this playoff run. But of course, you could go out tomorrow night and lay an egg, so I’m not quite ready to steer the ship in the right direction. On this night, though, the Indiana Pacers looked like the team that had got off to such a strong talk and was the talk of the media.
The fact that I can pinpoint some individual performances and the way the team responded tonight before getting to Paul George’s triple double, I believe, says a lot about this team. Just in case you missed it, Paul George did pick up a triple double with 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.
When they say a quiet night, but loud with the actions, that’s how I would describe George’s night. He did enough to get the Pacers across this finish line. Probably a couple of times, he tried to do too much, and that seems to be the Pacers when they want to share the ball as much as they can.
Tonight was all about sharing after the previous game in which they didn’t do that at all. 27 assists were dished out tonight with George giving out 10 of those and Evan Turner giving out his own seven assists. Good to see Turner hit that type of production as it was talked about before that he was a little dribble happy. I figured it would take some minutes for Turner to be comfortable with guys out there, but tonight could be a step in the direction of where he can go.
Speaking of comfortable, Coach Frank Vogel seemed to be very comfortable riding the bench this evening as they played a good portion of that second quarter with all five second unit guys. Chris Copeland got some more plenty time than usual. Ian Mahinmi provided some rest for Roy Hibbert. The play of Luis Scola definitely deserves some kudos as he looked to be hitting that jumper that has been missing the past couple of months. He goes out and gets 19 points off the bench. If he can give you at least 10 points per game, that would be great.
Lance Stephenson put together a strong third quarter with 13 of his 15 points. The Pacers put together a strong third quarter with 31 points. We had seen that plenty in the early stages of the season, and that’s what I would like to see now.
Overall, you feel good about the win because the Chicago Bulls did make some runs to make it a closer game after the Pacers went on a 19-0 run. There was some technical fouls dished out that could have ruined the momentum of the game. You had some stalling on the offense that could have helped the Bulls. But for the Pacers to keep doing enough to put together a win will speak volumes.
I think that’s what is important for this team, stringing some wins together. Come playoff time, are we going to worry about a one point win that gets the Pacers to the NBA Finals? No way, you’ll be happy just to be there. That’s how I view this final run of the season, do what needs to be done to be pick up the win. I think the playing better will happen because of that.
Tonight was a strong step to get that momentum going, but it’s all about following it up, and they’ll be back to work tomorrow night against a tough Memphis Grizzlies team. We all know how those back to back games can go for the Indiana Pacers.
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