Outside of some turnover problems early, the Bulls put in a complete performance with their 113-97 win over the Pacers. After this win, the Bulls are now a game back of Indiana for 9th place in the conference.
The Pacers were indeed without two of their best players in Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon, but the Bulls will run into this a lot as this condensed schedule wreaks havoc (plus the usual tanking or seeding chicanery), and it’s great they were able to take advantage. This was truly a blowout, cemented after Zach LaVine hit a bomb to end the 3rd quarter to put them up 97-74.
And then Zach buries this 3. THIS DUDE IS A RIDICULOUS SCORER pic.twitter.com/Df2yPtSQ3I— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) April 7, 2021
Nikola Vucevic owned the 3rd with 14 points in that period alone and finished with a game-high 32 points with 17 boards plus 5 assists.
One more, featuring a timely cut by Sato and savvy short-roll find by Vucevic. Good luck doubling LaVine. pic.twitter.com/h8EZ1XXfLG— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) April 7, 2021
The Bulls as a team waxed the smaller Pacers on the glass, with a 34% offensive rebound rate and getting 24 points on second chances to the Pacers 6.
But pretty much everyone played well. LaVine wasn’t spectacular (19 points on 18 shots) but was a team-high +16 in his 36 minutes. Thad Young roasted his old team with several jump-hooks to finish with 14-7-5. Pat Williams had 4 steals. Troy Brown didn’t shoot well but was a defensive pest and his lineups were +15 in only 15 minutes.
Lauri Markkanen and Coby White were sparks off the bench with 15 and 13 apiece (combined 10-16 from the field).
There was no lineup weirdness. Lauri barely played at the three, Denzel on down barely played at all.
Just a really complete performance from the main rotation, with 28 assists and over 42% made from three. But what that really did was cement that the Pacers couldn’t keep up, they put up a mere 94.5 offensive rating and looked to have little chance once the Bulls started to pull away in the 2nd quarter.
The telling part of the schedule continues with the Raptors in two nights. They’ll also be out some regulars, and this is the chance for the Bulls to start gaining ground.