Three takeaways from the Chicago Bulls loss to the Indiana Pacers


The Chicago Bulls continue their woes with another loss to the Indiana Pacers. Nobody comes out of this one clean as their losing streak grows to 10 straight.

Whether you’re all aboard the tank or dying to get off, Wednesday night’s loss stings.

Kris Dunn has looked more and more comfortable running the point within the Bulls’ offense. He led the charge for Chicago throughout most of the game, finishing with 18 points, six assists, and six rebounds, alongside a steal and a block.

Dunn continues to be aggressive with the ball, driving strongly into the paint and avoiding any hesitation in traffic. He attempted and missed two huge dunks in the first half, neither of which were easy attempts.

While Dunn didn’t connect on either attempt, his persistent drive to destroy everybody else on the court is appreciated.

While his finishing still needs work, he doesn’t shy away from contact and knows how to play roughly on offense without catching the eye of the refs. He’s also continued to prove himself as the only somewhat reliable drive and kick man in the Bulls’ offense.

Dunn has shown continued improvement with his jump shot and was able to curb the Pacers momentum with big offensive plays through the first three quarters. Dunn hit eight of his 14 shots from the field and seemed automatic from mid range. He also hit his only three-point attempt and got to the line three times.

Dunn is currently shooting 44% from three, albeit on just a little over two attempts a game. It remains to be seen if Dunn can continue his hot shooting, and whether or not defenses will start respecting his shot.

For the most part, teams are willing to give Dunn the three ball, making most of his attempts relatively unguarded. But if he can make teams scheme against him on the perimeter he should start to see even more opportunity inside.

David Nwaba is proving he deserves more minutes

David Nwaba has simply brought it so far in his time with Bulls.

He doesn’t necessarily have the same type of hype that we see from other young guys like Dunn and Markkanen, but he does provide consistently solid performances.

Nwaba does all the simple things right, and for a Bulls squad which regularly fails to do just that, it’s a welcome change of pace on both sides of the ball.

He uses his length to bother opposing players when he’s on-ball, and frequently find his way into crowds to get deflections.

On the offensive end, he chases offensive rebounds, gets tips to his teammates, and battles for loose balls. He’s also capable of going strong to the hoop, getting layups in traffic and using his body to create space on putbacks. Nwaba always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

He has certainly been making his case for a consistent spot on the Bulls’ roster since coming back from an ankle injury a month ago.

He’s been one of the few unexpected bright spots. He made his NBA debut less than 11 months ago and certainly has a ton of room to grow. He’ll turn 25 this January and could provide a solid spark off the bench for Chicago for years to come.

The Bulls’ inexperience is glaring in clutch situations

The biggest thing the Bulls should be worried about isn’t Lauri Markkanen’s recent shooting slump. It isn’t the team’s porous defense nor is it their often stagnant offense.

The most concerning cracks are showing in the team’s complete inability to perform in tight situations.

The Bulls blew a 17 point lead to the Pacers amid a drought which lasted over five minutes.

Two minutes into that drought, the Bulls were 93.7% favorites to win the game, per Inpredictable.

After a game filled with great plays and a relatively positive showing offensively, Chicago became stagnant late in the fourth. Their three-point percentage tanked and the Bulls only scored 13 points in the fourth after reaching 83 points through three quarters.

Turnover after turnover lead to easy fastbreak buckets for Indiana, including this dagger three from Oladipo.

Chicago consistently got caught with double teams, and Fred Hoiberg seemingly had no response to free up players and avoid turnovers.

Crossing half-court with 10 seconds on the clock, the Bulls managed to get trapped twice on the perimeter by Indiana.

Despite only needing two points, Chicago had to settle for a heavily contested three from Markkanen, who had shot just five of fifteen from the field and had only made one three-pointer on six attempts.

These heartbreaking losses, combined with blowout after blowout, are bound to take a toll on a young squad. The Bulls need to find a way to remedy this issue or they risk a heightened risk of locker room and culture problems developing.