The Chicago Bulls were in town last night, as were some of their fans, for the final game of the regular season for the Indiana Pacers. They took care of the Pacers in a game that saw Pacers guard Lance Stephenson starting at shooting guard and finishing with a career high of 22 points. He took full advantage of playing a lot more as did most of the bench in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls lead most of the way in this game as the Pacers didn’t have much to play for, other than beating the Bulls. This had an ugly second quarter that saw the Pacers only put up 12 points and were down 13 points at halftime.
The Pacers came out in the third quarter, and put a 7-0 run together, but never got much closer than 7 points for the rest of the evening and the Bulls end up winning this one 92-87. For the Pacers, using their bench players a lot more throughout the game, that’s a good competitive game. Who knows what this game might have been if Danny Granger plays and the starters go there in the fourth quarter?
Being live at the game, I did realize how tough that Bulls team will be come playoffs. On a night when Derrick Rose was struggling with his shot, Carlos Boozer put up 16 points on some good outside shooting. Kyler Korver also seemed to never miss as he got 20 points coming off the bench and only playing 22 minutes.
But good news for the Pacers as Stephenson put together his own scoring out burst, hitting 2 three pointers along the way, and going 10-15 from the field. I’d like to see the assist number a bit higher as I know I’ve seen him make some good passes before, and he only got one assist last night along with a rebound. Need to improve in those areas, but can’t fault the effort he brought in his starting role, and playing that final quarter.
David West played throughout this game as well, and had a solid game of 13 points in 21 minutes. He’s been such a good player during this month, and I look for him to push the Pacers in their playoff run starting either Saturday or Sunday.
Just a good regular season finale at Banker’s Life even with the Pacers losing the game. Being live there, the crowd had lots of energy throughout, and this Pacers team really shows they are a different group from years past. This group looks to be much more together as I would watch the bench from time to time during the game. You get the sense these guys really do enjoy being around each other, and playing together. Hopefully there’s something special building here, and the Pacers make a lengthy playoff run possibly facing this same Bulls team down the road.