The Indiana Pacers will enjoy – or not – a few days off following their brutal loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night at the United Center. Rest could be exactly what they need after getting off to a quick 9-0 start. Then again, they may want to play sooner than Wednesday to get that first loss out of their minds.
Regardless, there isn’t much they can do about it. Next up is the New York Knicks on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Rest is working in their favor; Indiana played four back-to-backs in the first three weeks.
Unfortunately in the NBA, nobody wins all 82 games. Despite a blistering start, the Pacers fell to 9-1 after suffering their first defeat of the young season against the Bulls. A quick recap of the pros and cons of Saturday’s game:
- Indiana has nothing to worry about. Only ten games in, and Frank Vogel has his Pacers sitting pretty at 9-1 and atop the Eastern Conference. If they continue to play the way they did in games one through nine, a good amount of playoff games will take place in Indianapolis.
- Chris Copeland. Vogel finally used his 6’10″ sharp-shooter early in the game to try and provide an offensive boost off the bench. Copeland looked sharp, hitting 3-4 from long range and scoring 13 points in 16 minutes. Indiana was +14 with him on the floor.
- The Pacers got a taste of their own medicine. It is always good for an experienced, albeit still young, team to take a few punches in the regular season. Chicago used stingy defense to slow Paul George, Lance Stephenson and George Hill. More important will be how the blue and gold respond.
- A blowout defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bulls. Not only did Chicago even the season series with the Indiana Pacers, they did so with authority. Indiana had no answer for Derrick Rose, unlike the first matchup in which Rose did not play well. Taking care of the Central Division is priority No. 1.
- Three-point shooting. George, Stephenson and Hill combined to shoot 1-9 from beyond the arc vs. Chicago. Those three need to find more consistency from deep, otherwise the bench will have to help in that category.
- Indiana played very poor defense for 48 minutes. Chicago was scoring at will en route to 110 points, the most points allowed by the Pacers defense this season by far. A trip to New York on Wednesday awaits, and it doesn’t get any easier after that.