Bulls share central division lead as they lose to the Pacers, 111-101

Feb 4, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bulls bench from left to right Richard Hamilton, Marquis Teague, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah react as they lose to the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Chicago 111-101. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls took on the Indiana Pacers for the second time of the season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Feb. 5.

As tonight’s game approached, the Bulls were looking for revenge but unfortunately they couldn’t get it done. The first time both teams squared off was last year, Dec. 4. The Pacers won that game with a final score 80-76 at the United Center.

The starting line up for the Bulls featured Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Richard Hamilton and eastern conference player of the week, Nate Robinson. Kirk Hinrich returned to Chicago as he was evaluated for a recent elbow injury and Joakim Noah was inactive as he has plantar faciitis in his right foot. Carlos Boozer didn’t play the last game against the Bucks, however he fought through his injury and was able to play.

The starting lineup for the Indiana Pacers was Paul George, David West, Roy Hibbert, Lance Stephenson and George Hill. As some of you may know, this game was originally supposed to be played a while ago however due to the recent weather, that game was cancelled.

The first quarter of the game started ugly. The Pacers went on an early 7-0 run thanks to the triple threat of George, West and Hibbert. The Bulls however managed find themselves on the scoreboard as Hamilton made the jump shot with the assist by Robinson. Nonetheless, the Pacers seemed to ruin that accomplishment as Hill nailed a three-pointer.

While it seemed like a Pacers show early on, the Bulls managed to bring the deficit down thanks to efforts by Marco Belinelli and Deng, as they caught fire and dropped some buckets. As well, rookie Marquis Teague saw himself in the first quarter as he made a few assists and finished the quarter off with a simple layup. At the end of the first quarter, the Pacers led 29-28. Not a bad effort by the Bulls if I do say so myself.

As the second quarter was underway, it was still, surprisingly a close contested game. The score was even, tied at 38 each at the eight-minute mark. The Bulls even led at one point in this quarter as Belinelli dished it to Robinson who shot the three-pointer dagger.

Even Boozer came back as he finished that quarter with two offensive rebounds and eight points. Still, those vicious Pacers wouldn’t back down easy as West and Hill led their team making layup, after jump shot, after layup. At the end of the second quarter, the Indiana Pacers led by six (if my math is right) with a score of 60-54.

As both teams were ready to go, and as a furious Tom Thibodeau was finished yelling at the team, for a short while, both teams were back to finish the game. Robinson got the first bucket. He nailed a three-pointer thanks to Hamilton. Both Robinson and Hamilton ran the show as they both made jump shots and as Robinson later saw Hamilton open for the shot.

Taj Gibson, Belinelli and Boozer got some playing time helping this Bulls team with their limited, but valued jump shots and layup. Small efforts go a long way. At the end of the third quarter, those pesky Pacers were leading by six again, with a score of 60-54.

With the fourth and final quarter commencing, Belinelli started red hot as he nailed as jump shot thanks to Gibson. There were also few fouls here and there by the Pacers and that sent both Jimmy Butler and Deng seeing themselves at the free throw line.

Down the stretch, it was Butler and Belinelli running this Bulls squad. Belinelli made a layup shot at the eight-minute mark, and a few long-range jumpers here and there. Still, he couldn’t save the Bulls as they lost to unfortunate score of, 111 – 101.

Now if you’re wondering why the Bulls lost, lets look at the statistics. The pacers clearly outrebounded the Bulls as they had 60 total rebounds (Chicago with only 46 rebounds) as well the Pacers had four more points in the paint, scoring 42 while the Bulls had 38.

If you take a look at the box score, Hill, George and West combined for 72 points at the end of the game, a scary stat.

It was a good job and effort by the Bulls but unfortunately that’s not enough. The Pacers now won three-straight games. The news isn’t completely sad for the Bulls as the Italian, Belinelli scored a career high 24 points. Thats all I got.

These two teams will play again in Indiana on march 3, but for the meantime, the Bulls will play against the Denver Nuggets and the Indiana Pacers welcome former Bull Kyle Korver and the Atlanta Hawks.

Topics: Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng. Jimmy Butler. Marquis Teague, Marco Belinelli, Nate Robinson, Rip Hamilton

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