Three games decided by a total of 15 points.
The Indiana Pacers have been close in this series. Very close. But when it came to end-of-game execution — and players who can execute under that kind of pressure — Chicago has it and Orlando struggles.
The Bulls are up 3-0 and the only question that remains is if they close out in Game 4 or go back to Chicago for Game 5.
Can the Pacers win one game?
The Pacers have done a good job keeping the Bulls offense in check this series. Paul George has done a respectable job on the Herculean task of guarding Derrick Rose, and they have thrown a variety of traps and different looks at him. Other Bulls players have not really stepped up, Carlos Boozer has been unimpressive and Luol Deng inefficient (Kyle Korver when he gets a look from three, is the exception as he is 7-of-8 from deep in the series). On that side of the ball, the Pacers have done what they set out to do.
But offense wasn’t why the Bulls had the best record in the NBA.
It’s defense, and Indiana has not been able to get its offense going against the stingy Bulls. Tyler Hansborough had a good first game draining midrange jumpers but as those got contested he has not hit them much. Pretty much every jumper Danny Granger takes is contested but he can hit some and has. Darren Collison has been taking contested floaters in the lane all series.
Maybe for a game some of those contested shots will start to fall. Maybe the Pacers will get enough points off these shots to get one win. It only seems fair after three hard losses in this series.
We all know how this movie is going to end. The only question is how much longer until the credits.
NEW YORK (AP) James Harden had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 12th triple-double of the season and the Houston Rockets easily ended their first losing streak of the season by beating the Brooklyn Nets 137-112 on Sunday night.
Held to 105 points in losses to Minnesota and Memphis, the Rockets bounced back with 104 after three quarters and handed the Nets their 10th straight loss.
Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 24 points and Trevor Ariza added 23. Houston made 21 3-pointers and had five players with at least 16 points.
Houston shot just 40.8 percent during its two losses, well below its 46.8 season average, while being held nearly 10 points below its season scoring average. But the Rockets had no trouble bouncing back against the Nets, who allow an NBA-worst 114.3 per game.
Joel Embiid has fans all around the NBA. Some even came out to see him during the Philadelphia 76ers game against the Washington Wizards on Saturday despite the Cameroonian big man sitting out due to restrictions on playing in back-to-back games.
#BusTheProcess was the hashtag used to get 350 Sixers fans to the game in D.C. thanks to Embiid, coach Brett Brown, and the podcast The Rights to Ricky Sanchez.
Via Twitter and ESPN:
Fun stuff for some dedicated fans, even if they didn’t get to see Embiid play.
Unfortunately for the #BusTheProcess folks, the 76ers wound up losing to the Wizards, 109-93.
Michael Carter-Williams is still shaking the dust off after being inserted into the starting lineup, I guess. At least, that’s about what you can say when you pass the ball off your starting center’s face.
But there’s good news! The Chicago Bulls scored on this play.
Let’s take a look at the whole thing, shall we?
I think the more important question is whether Carter-Williams received a secondary or primary assists on the NBA.com tracking site.
ATLANTA (AP) Kent Bazemore scored 24 points, Mike Dunleavy added 20 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-98 on Sunday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points and was a tough matchup in the paint for Milwaukee, which dropped 2 1/2 games behind the fourth-place Hawks in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta has won eight of nine. The Bucks have dropped three of five.
Dunleavy, in his second game since arriving in a trade last week with Cleveland, had his first 20-point performance since a first-round playoff game for Chicago on April 30, 2015.
Antetokounmpo has scored at least 30 points in eight games in a breakout season.