Jan 25, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik (3) and Indiana Pacers power forward Tyler Hansbrough (50) attempt to grab a rebound during the second half at the United Center. The Pacers defeat the Bulls 95-90. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

Bulls Falter Late, Fall to Pacers 95-90

Bulls 90, Pacers 95 — FINAL

CHICAGO — Last night the Indiana Pacers lost their first home game of the season. They were looking forward to making the Bulls feel that same pain as they traveled to the United Center Wednsday but Derrick Rose and company the them the ol’ Dikembe Mutombo and said no.

But then the Pacers remembered they could beat this team and acted on that.

Derrick Rose’s toe has been the subject of much speculation and debate this week as we saw his return after missing most of last week. In his second game back Rose helped the Bulls avoid letting the Pacers pull away witht he game early and then kept them in it.

“I will never forget how they celebrated just from winning this game. I can’t wait to play them again.”

-Derrick Rose on the 95-90 loss to Indiana 

Sound familiar? If it does that’s good because the skepticism about Rose’s toe was that he wouldn’t be able to operate at 100 percent. He has said he won’t be 100 percent for the rest of the season but he showed that doesn’t mean he’s not going to put put the same production.

Joakim Noah and Ronnie Brewer both posted double-doubles tonight in points and rebounds. But the troubling part was their production in combination with Rose’s 24 wasn’t enough.

In fact all of the Bulls starters again went into double digits in scoring and they still faltered at the end. Both Rose and Brewer finished in the twenties and Rip Hamilton finished with seventeen in the losing effort. However it was how these guy fell off late that will be the story.

Chicago trailed Indiana by one entering the fourth and they went on to start the final quarter 4 for 17 shooting. The Bulls also failed to close out in a way they may have been able to if they were at full strength. The injuries to Luol Deng and Taj Gibson really hurt Chicago on defense down the stretch.

With all due repeat to Ronnie Brewer, but he’s not tall. Had Luol Deng been able to take his assignment things would be different. David West had a better game then he would have had if Deng and Gibson were in that game. But if ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ were pots and pans then the Bulls would still have their undated home record intact.

The loss isn’t being pushed off to the side either. Both Joakim Noah and head coach Tom Thibodeau swore in their post game press conferences and Derrick Rose seemed very despondent.

It took Rose a full 12 seconds to compose himself and hold back his tears when asked what he felt was the most disappointing aspect of the game.

“I will never forget how they celebrated just from winning this game.” Rose said. “I can’t wait to play them again.”

Mind you this is after the Bulls fourth loss of the season in 20 games. As K.C Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweeted, these kinds of reactions to a regular season loss really shows the character and really defines this team and these guys.

Chicago drops to 16-4 on the season which isn’t as grim as the Bulls are acting. They get the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday to end their home stand. Then the Bulls are off the to East Coast for a nine game road trip that spans the eastern seaboard. Chicago wasn’t healthy tonight and they couldn’t pull it out. Don’t expect them to be healthy for the road trip either but like the quotes and negativity is defining of the character of this team, the nine game road trip will be equally as such.

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