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Bulls vs. Pacers final score: Bulls end 3-game losing streak after closing out Pacers

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the battle for 8th place wound up in Chicago’s favor

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

If you want an idea of how the Pacers, who had 4 nights of rest, treated this first half: they were out-efforted by Rajon friggin’ Rondo...

Neither of these teams have been playing well, but the Bulls did just enough to come away with a 90-85 victory.

In the first half, the Pacers had a paltry 41 points and only 1 of those points coming from the FT line in that time. The Bulls had a ten point lead at halftime, led by Nikola Mirotic who shot 7 three-pointers in the first half alone, making 3 (including one from silly range) on his way to 14 first half points.

And here’s your 3rd quarter recap:

Honestly, it was one of those periods where you wish the Eastern Conference was just done away with altogether. It took a spurt led by Aaron Brooks to bring the Pacers within within 2 entering the 4th, and another Brooks three tied the game early in the fourth.

Now keep in mind these are two of the worst 4th quarter teams in the league. The Bulls quickly (for this game) went on a 10-0 run, only to be nearly matched back by a 10-2 Pacers run with more Aaron Brooks stuff, including a block of Robin Lopez.

The Bulls wound up prevailing by continuing their usual methods from the season: shooting poorly, but getting points at the FT line and from offensive rebounds. The Bulls got the Pacers in the penalty early and made them pay. Jimmy Butler may have had a rough stretch lately and gotten bottled up by Kahwi Leonard, but in terms of the small forward hierarchy it was a game where he bested Paul George yet again. Both shot pretty poorly tonight, but Butler was 9-12 from the free throw line and had a couple key stops late.

What also helped was that Rajon Rondo was benched the entire fourth quarter. Jerian Grant played the bulk of the final period after having one of his better games of the season, with 10 points on 4-7 shooting. Michael Carter-Williams (who’s STILL being called “Michael Carter” by Neil Funk, who’s nominally a professional broadcaster) returned to the Bulls lineup for the first time since Halloween, and though he shot terribly was an effective defensive substitution at PG in that he is not named Rondo.

Late baskets by Wade, Gibson, and Nikola Mirotic sealed it for the Bulls.

As you’ll see here, it wasn’t pretty basketball, but the Bulls aren’t a good team so it’d be greedy to ask for much more, right? Wade added on with a steal and finish to end the game with a team-high 21, playing 32 minutes on a back-to-back. Mirotic had 20 and Butler had 16. The Pacers were led by Brooks’s 19, LOL.

No doubt: a loss here would’ve been pretty devastating, and though the Pacers got close late they never led. I think there’s just too much talent in Chicago, and so little in the rest of the Eastern Conference, for the Bulls to really bottom out.