Home News Chicago Bulls rout Indiana Pacers 125-99 to snap 3-game skid

Chicago Bulls rout Indiana Pacers 125-99 to snap 3-game skid

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If the Chicago Bulls hope to stay competitive, they need the best version of Coby White.

With nine games left in the season, it’s not clear when — or if — White will be back to himself. But that’s not slowing the guard as he aims to help the Bulls into the postseason.

White had another off0shooting night Wednesday in a 125-99 blowout of the Indiana Pacers at the United Center. He opened the game shooting 0-for-6 from the field, including one missed 3-point attempt, before snapping the streak with a transition pullup from the top of the arc in the opening minutes of the second quarter. He finished 8-for-21 from the field, making only one more 3-pointer.

But White showed flashed of energy, most emphatically showcased when he crushed down a one-handed dunk off a drive to the rim in the fourth quarter.

Coach Billy Donovan acknowledged that White’s current stall in shooting is fueled by exhaustion. The fifth-year guard has logged 2561.2 minutes this season, the fourth-highest amount in the league despite missing three games with a hip injury suffered in the team’s last meeting with the Pacers.

There are ways to create respite for White — for instance, Donovan is attempting to place the guard in more off-ball schemes that will somewhat diminish his workload. But a critical challenge for White’s growth as a newfound leader is to maintain his voice and presence regardless of his production.

After the game, forward Torrey Craig led teammates in praising White for lifting teammates despite his low-scoring night — something Donovan felt was a key for the team’s cohesion in a critical win.

“He didn’t have a great shooting night at all, but he was into the game,” Donovan said. “He was into it on the bench, he was into it in huddles. He did a phenomenal job. It brought a lot of life to our team.”

Here are five takeaways from the win.

1. Nikola Vučević returns to shooting norms

Bulls center Nikola Vučević shoots over Pacers forward Pascal Siakam and center Myles Turner on March 27, 2024, at the United Center. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)
Bulls center Nikola Vučević shoots over Pacers forward Pascal Siakam and center Myles Turner on March 27, 2024, at the United Center. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

The center bounced back from an off-shooting night against the Washington Wizards, anchoring the offense with 22 points alongside DeMar DeRozan, who led the team with 27 points.

Vučević took only five shots in Monday’s loss to the Wizards, less than one-third of his typical volume. He eclipsed that number in the first five minutes Wednesday, going 7-for-11 from the field in the first half.

Vučević finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, his 41st double-double of the season.

2. Bulls hold Pacers under 100 points for the first time this season

The Pacers came in averaging a league-high 122.9 points but didn’t near the threshold Wednesday. They shot 40% from the field and 31% from 3-point range, a significant drop from their averages. The Bulls also limited the Pacers in second-chance (13) and fast break points (11).

3. Javonte Green makes his return

After not making an NBA roster at the start of the season while recovering from a knee injury, the forward returned midway through the second quarter Wednesday.

Green signed a 10-day contract with the Bulls on Saturday to fill an injury-hardship exception but did not play in the first two games he was made available on the bench. The Bulls picked him up after he played 10 games for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League.

Bulls fans greeted Green with warm applause when he checked into the game — and within minutes, he gave them more to cheer about. Green scored on a layup on his first trip down the court, then blocked an Andrew Nembhard shot three possessions later.

“I had butterflies just going in,” Green, 30, said. “And then I knew I had to just go in there and give them what they came to see.”

Green finished with five points and four rebounds in 20 minutes.

4. Ayo Dosunmu lifts offense with long-range shooting

Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu, left, drives against Pacers forward Obi Toppin on March 27, 2024, at the United Center. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)
Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu, left, drives against Pacers forward Obi Toppin on March 27, 2024, at the United Center. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Despite being questionable throughout the day due to an illness, Dosunmu provided the offensive spark the Bulls needed in the first half.

The third-year guard was 3-for-3 from behind the arc in the first half, and finished with 17 points as one of six Bulls to score double digits.

5. Win snaps three-game skid

The Bulls ended a three-game losing streak, correcting a weeklong pattern of defensive slippage and offensive stagnancy.

And the Bulls captured a series of accomplishments that often have escaped them this season: maintaining a double-digit lead from the first half, winning the offensive boards (13-12) and limiting an opponent to fewer than 100 points.

The result did not affect the team’s standings in the Eastern Conference as the Bulls remain locked into the No. 9 slot. But the win —  at least temporarily —  helped hold off concerns of slipping to 10th, which would cause the Bulls to lose their home-court advantage in the play-in tournament.



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