Mar 21, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) looses control of the ball as he dribbles in between Indiana Pacers forwards Paul George (24) and David West (28) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls cannot overcome Indiana Pacers in 91-79 loss

The Chicago Bulls were able to keep up with the Indiana Pacers in the first half of Friday night’s game, but an inefficient second half left them with a 91-79 loss at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Indiana’s turnovers gave Chicago the advantage early on. In just the first quarter alone, the Pacers committed five turnovers resulting in right points for the Bulls. The game was close, but it was these turnovers that really allowed the Bulls to go out and take the slim 23-19 lead at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter wasn’t quite as successful for Chicago. The bench-dominated lineup of D.J. Augustin, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Nazr Mohammed and Tony Snell started the period and found themselves in a offensive rut that allowed the Pacers to take the lead. Luis Scola got into an offensive rhythm for Indiana at this time.

Scola scored six of Indiana’s first eight points of the second quarter, making him the main reason Chicago’s lead turned into a 27-23 deficit. He continued to thrive on the offensive end and finished with 12 points in the period. Fortunately for the Bulls, though, they were able to keep up with the Pacers.

The Bulls’ first five points of the second quarter came off of free throws, but Augustin finally got a field goal to fall at the 7:16 mark of the period. At this point of the game, Chicago trailed by three points and was able to cut it down to a 44-43 game at halftime.

This one-point deficit should have given the Bulls the opportunity to easily turn the tide once the third quarter rolled around; however, that wasn’t the case. Instead, the Pacers went on an 8-2 run to open the period. Chicago called a timeout afterwards, but it didn’t end Indiana’s momentum, as Indiana proceeded to go on a 13-4 run.

What was once an 18-point lead dwindled down to a 13-point lead once the quarter came to its conclusion. The Bulls were able to carry this momentum into the final period, and they even cut it down further to eight points after a layup from Augustin at the 8:18 mark of the fourth quarter. The momentum ended there, though.

After that, the Bulls went through an offensive drought. It wasn’t until four minutes later that Chicago got back on the scoreboard with a pair of free throws from Augustin. But by that point, the lead had reverted back to double digits. It was too much to come back from, and the Bulls continued to struggle offensively. In fact, they only scored two more field goals afterwards.

The Bulls ended up shooting 36.4 percent from the field after scoring just 36 points in the second half. They were also out-rebounded by the Pacers 51-36. One of the things that allowed Chicago to stay in the game were the points they scored off of Indiana’s turnovers, 20.

Augustin and Butler each contributed 17 points. Joakim Noah followed with 12 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Next up for the Bulls, now 38-31, is a 7 p.m. central matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday at the United Center.

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