Bulls 89, Pacers 80: Pacers Shattered on Glass
After playing four games in five days, the Pacers have three days off before visiting the Celtics on Wednesday. Ironically, I'm sure all of the Pacers would like to play that game tomorrow night just so they could wash away the bitter taste of Saturday night's 89-80 loss to the Bulls. For three quarters, the Pacers controlled every aspect of the game except rebounding. Proving the oft tested theory that rebounds are important, the Bulls were down most of the game and as many as 12 in the third quarter. It appeared the Pacers were in control but they couldn't extend the lead because the Bulls held a staggering edge on the offensive glass. The extra possessions earned on the glass and some timely shooting from Kirk Hinrich kept the Bulls hanging around until they seized the game in the fourth quarter. The Pacers came up empty on the offensive end while the Bulls just kept shooting until they made it, to out score the Pacers in the 4th, 30-14. That's your ballgame in a nutshell. Other observations:
- There were lots of positive moments within the gut wrenching loss. After earning a tough victory last night, the Pacers came out strong on both ends of the floor. Ten times better than the game in D.C. under similar circumstances.
- Danny Granger looks to have officially raised his game for the long haul. His defense is always a constant but his offense must be accounted for now. He finished with 18 points including 5 of 6 from 3-ball territory. Now he needs to hit that glass!
- Reserve squad that did such a nice job last night didn't bring much to the table tonight. In fact, the starters were summoned back on to the court in the middle of the second quarter after some particularly sloppy play.
- Rebounds were the difference and when you look at the differentials it makes you wonder how the Pacers managed to lead though three quarters. Rebounds Total: Chi-51, Ind-28 Offensive Rebounds: Chi-24, Ind-4
- On the offensive glass alone, the Bulls created a chance at least 40 more points than the Pacers did. Not sure how many they cashed in but it was quite a few.
- Down the stretch the Pacers needed a go to guy on the offensive end. JO? Al? They want that designation and it might be a burden on a tough night, but if they don't step up who will? Tonight the answer was, nobody.
This would've been a great win and will sting until the opening tip at the TD Banknorth Garden (just rolls of the tongue, doesn't it?). The team is 4-3 and remains fun to watch which isn't real easy to type after the last eight minutes of that game tonight. This game certainly provides the first real on court adversity. How they react now could set the tone for the rest of the year.