Considering the latest blow that the Chicago Bulls were dealt, losing by four points to the Indiana Pacers doesn’t seem so bad. Entering this game, the Bulls were without Rip Hamilton, and thus opted to play Marco Belinelli in his place. Problem is, Belinelli hasn’t played a substantial amount of minutes to have a fighting chance at being a high-performing starter.
Regardless, Belinelli played 24 minutes and scored six points. His performance should speak to the crowds on whether or not he should remain the starter until Hamilton returns, or whether the Bulls should look into free-agency to pick a player up (Maurice Evans?). All was not bad for the Bulls last night, however – there were some positives that Chicago should take away from last night’s contest.
First, Chicago limited the Pacers to 80 points. That alone should say something about a team that has been knocked down a few pegs with injuries and lineup controversies. Indiana and Chicago both rank in the top five defenses in the league, and last nights score says why. Chicago scored 10 points after forcing 12 Indiana turnovers. This shows that Chicago was pressuring the ball, as well as running the floor on fast break opportunities Besides turnovers, there was another key stat: shooting percentages. Indiana was held to a low 36 percent field- goal percentage and a terrible 20 percent 3-point percentage – another sign of strong Chicago defense.
The next positives that Chicago can take away from this game were the performances by Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson. Boozer posted his seventh double-double in nine games scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while Robinson proved to be a spark off of the bench scoring 19 of the benches’ 25 points.
The last positive for Chicago is this: they scored 30 points in the paint. In a contest where they scored only 76 points, getting 30 points from inside is a big deal. Chicago’s big men were hard at work on the block, and it showed. If the front-court players can dominate the paint like they did last night every night then not only will point totals increase but so will player stats and efficiency.
Overall, it was a disappointing loss, given the comeback that Chicago was seeming to orchestrate; but, given the situation they find themselves in – a musical chairs-approach to the roster – they performed at a high level and stayed true to the things they have always prided themselves on.
Chicago will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland Wednesday night.