Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler can score and defend. Monday night, he did a little of both and his defensive play on Paul George was just enough to secure a thrilling 96-95 win over Indiana for Chicago’s third straight win.
Derrick Rose had 23 points but left the game with 6:00 remaining due to a sprained left ankle. The extent of his ankle injury is not known at this time. However, it was Butler who again, made a key stop on George. With the Bulls clinging to a one point lead, the Pacers gave the ball to George. His fadeaway shot was tightly contested by Butler and the shot missed the basket –and the Chicago Bulls had a knuckle-knocker of a win.
Doug McDermott had 11 points. F Pau Gasol had a rough night from the floor, making 2 of 11 shot attempts. But he contributed by grabbing 13 rebounds. Forward Taj Gibson had 9 points and had 11 rebounds. Kirk Hinrick also had 9 points. Monta Ellis had 20 points for the Pacers and C.J. Miles added 19 points. The Pacers’ George Hill, Rodney Stuckey, and Myles Turner did not play. Turner just had thumb surgery and will miss at least 6 weeks of play.
This was a typical Bulls-Pacers game. The Bulls had a 15 point lead in the third quarter but couldn’t put the Pacers away. Ellis lead the comeback, and George almost closed the deal. But, the Butler did it again with his strong D in the closing seconds.
The Bulls shot just 40.7%. Indiana was a tad lower, hitting 40.2% of its baskets. The Bulls only had 8 turnovers and came up with 9 blocks and 9 steals. This came down to a half-court possession game and the Bulls made the big play to earn a 5-1 record at home.
The Bulls head out to the road for a 4 game road trip, possibly without D Rose for some of the games.