Tonight is the final round of Bulls/Pacers, barring Chicago falling into Indiana’s side of the bracket, and then winning their first round series. The first three rounds have all been claimed by the home team, with the most recent coming last Friday, as Indiana pulled away from Chicago in the second half. Indiana has floundered lately, but the Bulls and their offense out-floundered them in that game.
Friday’s loss looked a little more lopsided than it was thanks to Chicago’s third quarter offensive woes. Otherwise, it was a close game, even with Luis Scola practically shooting flames out of every orifice. In order to tie the season series, the Bulls will need better shooting. They hit five of their 11 threes (4-6 by Jimmy Butler), but shot just 36.4% overall, with poor outputs from Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson.
Both teams felt the effects of that emotional and physical contest, as the Bulls struggled to hold off the hapless Sixers the following night, while Indiana could not withstand the toll of playing the Grit and Grind Grizzlies just one night after playing the Bulls. Each has had a night off, as well as time to stew on the latest footnotes to this rivalry’s expanding history. Gibson brought accusations of flopping by Indiana, which Roy Hibbert obviously denied. Also, Lance Stephenson got worked up, as he is wont to do, and stood over Mike Dunleavy after a made basket, which can been seen above. It will be interesting to see if either have any impact of the chippiness of tonight’s game.