It felt like the Bulls had been playing with fire lately, winning close games while not playing a particularly inspiring brand of basketball. It caught up with them on Friday. The Pacers took control in the first quarter and never surrendered the lead, as Indiana defended its home court to beat the Bulls 104-92.
The Bulls' inability to keep the Pacers out of transition proved to be the story of the game. Indiana used its small ball lineup to score 42 fast break points, as opposed to 28 points in transition for the Bulls. Paul George continued his stellar play, finishing with 33 points and eight rebounds on 11-of-24 shooting from the field. Four other Pacers scored in double digits, including 16 points from C.J. Miles, all of which came in the first half.
A week after he played arguably his best game of the season in a one-point home win over the Pacers, Derrick Rose was dreadful in his second game back from a sprained ankle. Rose finished 4-of-16 from the field for 10 points and five assists.
Rose: "I felt like I played like s*** tonight"— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) November 28, 2015
He wasn't alone in his struggles. Pau Gasol had nine points and 11 rebounds on 4-of-16 shooting. Jimmy Butler also started slow but found his groove late to finish with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists on 4-of-10 shooting.
Nikola Mirotic was unquestionably the Bulls' biggest bright spot. He had 25 points in 29 minutes on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor. Kirk Hinrich also played well, hitting 3-of-4 attempts from behind the arc to finish with 11 points in the loss.
The Bulls had won five of their last six with the lone loss coming at undefeated Golden State, but this type of performance is why people worry about the long-term viability of this team this season. The offense again looked way too stagnant. They got beat thoroughly on the glass. The increased tempo that Fred Hoiberg preached so much at the onset of the season again failed shrine through.
The loss drops the Bulls to 9-5, while the Pacers are now 10-5. The Bulls are now at the United Center for the next week after finishing the Circus Trip 2-2. They have the Spurs on Monday, the Nuggets on Wednesday, the Hornets on Saturday and the Suns on Monday. Let's end with some tweets:
Removing Mirotic's 7/11, the Bulls shot 7/36 (19%) in the 2nd and 3rd quarters combined.— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) November 28, 2015
Derrick Rose is playing like someone poisoned his turkey yesterday.— Nillz (@TheBullsShow) November 28, 2015
This game wasn't a productive use of my time.— #FreePortis (@MitchDontLie) November 28, 2015
Sooo...how bout Hoiball?— Willstaps Gottzingis (@wontgottlieb) November 28, 2015
When did CJ Miles turn into prime Michael Redd?— (D)Roses and Thorns (@DRosesAndThorns) November 28, 2015