3 Things to Like and Dislike From Pacers' Loss Against Bulls
The Indiana Pacers entered Monday's matchup with the Chicago Bulls on a two-game winning streak. That came to an end as a result of their 120-112 loss in overtime.
It was a sluggish start offensively for the Pacers. They finished with just 44 points in the opening half and trailed by five points up until this point. Indiana shot 15-of-39 (38.5%) from the field and 2-of-14 (14.3%) from beyond the arc with nine turnovers.
There was continued struggles by the Pacers' offense in the third quarter but they finally turned things around in the fourth quarter -- using a run from Myles Turner and the bench unit.
The Pacers managed to force overtime but came out flat as they finished the additional frame scoring less than half that Chicago managed to produce. Now, Indiana is back to a .500 record at 14-14 through their initial 28 games.
Here are three things to like and dislike from Monday's loss:
LIKE: Fourth Quarter Run
The Pacers experienced some real struggles on the offensive end through the initial three quarters of this game. Indiana managed to rally back from a double-figure deficit
Indiana has received great production from lineups that feature Myles Turner with bench personnel. This was the group that managed go from trailing by 11-points at the 11:33 mark of the final period to being tied 88-88 before Turner's fifth foul.
With TJ McConnell's style of play being to push the ball, having a stretch five like Turner that also has athleticism and length to finish on dives to the rim goes a long way. Meanwhile, Jeremy Lamb's shot creation helps make the most of stagnant possessions.
DISLIKE: Poor Finishing Around Basket
The Pacers' most pivotal personnel such as Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, and Myles Turner combined to go 10-of-24 (41.7%) from inside the restricted area. Winning games with such numbers is troubling to see.
Sabonis is either in a slump or is getting worn out by being the NBA leader in defensive distance traveled. Regardless, his growing inefficiency coupled with his defensive limitations are concerning to see. He went 5-of-12 (41.7%) on these attempts.
Brogdon wasn't as poor around the rim as he normally is but he certainly didn't make up for his troubling jump shooting results. He remains the least efficient finisher among medium and high volume offensive players.
LIKE: TJ McConnell Looking to Score
With Doug McDermott sidelined due to injury, the Pacers needed a more of a scoring punch from his replacement in the lineup. TJ McConnell answered the call starting alongside Malcolm Brogdon in the team's backcourt.
McConnell played for a career-high 42 minutes and managed to produce 19 points, a mark higher than any previous game in his NBA career. He did so while shooting 8-of-9 (88.9%) from the field while also converting on a three-pointer.
Granted, McConnell did end up with four turnovers, but that's not all that unexpected from a player who pushes the pace and passes as much as he does. Seeing him get to the rim for finishes was intriguing and a frequent sight throughout this game.
DISLIKE: Struggling Perimeter Shooting Results
Without Doug McDermott in the lineup, the Pacers had even fewer shooters at their disposal than their already limited depth chart has offered. This put a premium on key players hitting shots. Indiana finished with just nine makes on 27.3% shooting from the perimeter.
It was a struggle for all of the Pacers' players to convert from deep aside from Jeremy Lamb, who finished 2-of-4 (50.0%). Domantas, Myles Turner, and Malcolm Brogdon combined to go 2-of-15 (13.3%) on these attempts.
Justin Holiday accounted for a significant portion of the Pacers' three-point attempts and he had a tough outing. He went 4-of-12 (33.3%) from the perimeter and was needed to let it fly early and often with the rest of the unit's struggles.
LIKE: Jeremy Lamb's Continued Impact
The Pacers had the choice of inserting Jeremy Lamb back into the starting lineup with Doug McDermott sidelined. Instead, Indiana kept Lamb on the bench in the role that he has thrived doing.
In this performance, Lamb managed to score 12 points on 5-of-8 (62.5%) from the field and 2-of-4 (50.0%) from beyond the arc. He was the only Pacers player to convert on multiple perimeter jumpers aside from Justin Holiday, but shot a much greater percentage.
It's become abundantly clear that when the Pacers' offense stagnates and is in a slump, Lamb can be trusted to go and get a bucket. This is crucial with TJ Warren and Caris LeVert sidelined.
DISLIKE: Continued Struggles From Stars
It's clear the Pacers have slotted Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon as being All-Star caliber talents. However, neither player is performing at a level to justify their involvement in the offense. That cannot happen if they expect to win many games.
Sabonis finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks, but also had eight turnovers went 7-of-19 (36.8%) from the field. This level of production is just not going to cut it from a player with a 32.0% usage rate.
The same certainly can be said about Brogdon, who finished with 23 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists. He did so while going 10-of-25 (40.0%) from the field and 1-of-7 (14.3%) from the perimeter along with a pair of turnovers.