CHICAGO, IL – The Indiana Pacers (19-17) got a Victor Oladipo-esque performance on Friday night, but they still missed the man who is sidelined due to injury.
Darren Collison tied his Indy best with 30 points, but the Pacers were beaten rather handily by the Chicago Bulls (13-22). The Bulls prevailed with the 119-107 win at the United Center, never trailing after the 8:39 mark of the first quarter.
Chicago, who got off to a horrendous start this season at 3-20, has now won ten of their last 12 games since coughing up a big lead versus the Blue and Gold in Indianapolis on December 6.
The Bulls had control of this ballgame virtually all night, starting with a 19-6 run in the first quarter that left them leading 37-27 after one. They extended their lead to 12 by halftime, despite Indy using a 6-0 to close the second period.
The Pacers scratched and clawed at the Bulls in the third, ultimately knocking Chicago’s cushion into single-digits, but couldn’t make any real progress. A basket to start the fourth pulled the Blue and Gold within seven, but the Bulls responded with a 15-3 to effectively end this ballgame. A 11-3 Pacers run gave the visitors a bit of hope late, but the Bulls would put their foot down and hang on for the win.
Chicago was hot from three-point range on Friday, knocking down ten triples in the first half. The home team added eight more in the second half, shooting 18-for-39 (46.2%) for the game. Indiana connected on only seven three-point attempts.
Nikola Mirotic and Lauri Markkanen led the charge from downtown for the Bulls, accounting for 13 of Chicago’s 18 three-pointers. Mirotic nailed eight of his 16 attempts from beyond the arc, while Markkanen made five of nine. Markkanen led all scorers with 32 points, while Mirotic finished with 28.
Collison shot the ball with accuracy on Friday night, getting his 30 points on 12-for-15 shooting. It tied his season high and matched his most points as a Pacer. Lance Stephenson, starting in place of Oladipo for a second straight game, scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Next up for the Pacers will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. Indy will host the T-Wolves back at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday, with a 5:00 p.m. tip to close out 2017.