It was just one of those nights for Indiana.
A few times a season teams have games where they just can’t do anything right. Indiana’s first off night of the season — and the first night their defense took a vacation — came in Chicago on the night the Bulls found their missing groove on offense and the result was a blowout 110-94 Chicago win that turned the entire second half into garbage time.
The Pacers fall to 9-1 but are still on top of the Eastern Conference. The Bulls improve to 5-3. The two Central division rivals have spit their first two games this season.
The vaunted Pacers defense could not contain the Bulls offense Saturday. Chicago got 46 points in the paint on 59 percent shooting, plus they hit 11-of-19 from three. Whatever they tried to do worked.
The real good news for Bulls fans was Derrick Rose had his best game of the young season and found his jump shot — he had 20 points and hit 6-of-11 from three. It wasn’t a perfect night for him, Rose was 0-3 in the paint dealing with the size of Roy Hibbert in his way, but he led a Bulls offense to a big night.
Luol Deng had 23 points on 14 shots, and seven Bulls scored in double figures.
The Chicago run started early — the Bulls make seven straight shots early in the first quarter and jumped out to 10-point lead. Chicago pushed the pace early (30 first quarter possessions) and they got buckets before Indy got set. Deng had 12 first quarter points and Indy was up 11 after one.
Then in the second quarter the Bulls just could not miss — they shot 66.7 percent and hit 5-of-5 from three. They shared the ball and the Pacers defense struggled with the onslaught, giving up some dunks at the rim.
The Pacers were up 60-35 at the half and the game was over from there.
Indy fans took to twitter angry with the officiating, but that was not the issue. Yes, the refs let this one get physical but teams need to adjust to how a game is called and Indy did not. Pacers players were missing shots and looking at the refs expecting calls that were not coming.
Paul George was 3-of-14 shooting, David West 6-of-16, Lance Stephenson 5-of-14 and as a team the Pacers shot just 40 percent.
Credit the Bulls defense with some of that — they are defending like you expect of them again.
If they can combine that with Rose finding his groove and some more consistent offense, the Bulls are going to start to look a lot more dangerous.
But don’t read too much into this game, this was one of those nights for the Pacers.