Pacers 98, Bulls 91: DA Runs the Show
The Pacers finished the first half of the season by holding off a late charge from the Bulls to win, 98-91. Darrell Armstrong stepped in for an ailing Jamaal Tinsley to lead the Pacers to a desperately needed W. Fresh and familiar faces alike, came together for a second quarter outburst that put the Pacers up by 17 at the half. From there, the Pacers had to fight off Ben Gordon and well, pretty much just Ben Gordon, but he was playing like there were two of him on the floor. In the end, the Bulls could get no closer than four points. Here's a full recap of the game. Other game thoughts:
- Tins missed his first game of the year. Hopefully the flow of the offense was due to the new faces fitting in with the team and not just because Tins was out.
- With the score tied 30-30, JO hit a jumper with 7:50 left in the half. From there (including JO's bucket) the Pacers outscored the Bulls 30-13. Thirty points in less than eight minutes? Not bad for a slow, grinding, controlled offense.
- Marquis Daniels provided several nice buckets in the Pacers' second quarter run. He has a real knack of getting the ball within 15 feet of the bucket and creating nice little shots for himself.
- Troy Murphy joined Dunleavy in the starting lineup moving Jeff Foster to a reserve role. Murph's offensive presence puts more pressure on opposing defenses.
- Mike D played some point in the second quarter to give DA a breather. He does a nice job in the half court sets. Can you say post entry pass?
- JO was JO with 22 and 10. After a bucket and a foul sent JO near the baseline seats, a few beer toting suits enticed JO into some celebratory high fives and he obliged. I feel sorry for all of the employees in the area tomorrow who will have to listen to how their boss gave JO a high five.
- Darrell Armstrong finished 16 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals.
- DA played a huge role in closing out the Bulls late in the fourth quarter. First, on consecutive Bulls' possessions DA drew an offensive foul on Hinrich (fouled him out) and then Gordon.
- With 35 seconds left and a five point lead, DA missed a 3-ball. Nocioni grabbed the rebound and threw the outlet pass but Armstrong snuck in and stole the ball. Foul. Free throws. Ball game.
- The Pacers will have the full attention of the Miami Heat when they visit Conseco Fieldhouse on Wednesday.