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NBA -- Bulls squeak past Pacers in OT, 102-100


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- ​It was a tale of two halves (plus an overtime) Wednesday night as the Chicago Bulls bid farewell to 2015 in front of 22,206 fans at the United Center with an overtime win against the Indiana Pacers, 102-100.

At Chicago's last home game of the year, the new year's festivities started early with the fans receiving Jimmy Butler bobblehead dolls. Indiana also got into the spirit by donning their NBA Pride Hickory uniforms as part of a season-long tribute to Indiana basketball as symbolized by the 30th anniversary of the Academy Award?winning movie, Hoosiers.

Both teams started off slow, with neither team hitting double digits until the six minute mark left in the first quarter. Chicago got a double boost from their bench, namely from Aaron Brooks, who was the only player to score in double digits in the first quarter with 11 points, and Bulls rookie Bobby Portis, who joined Brooks as the only other player to put up double digits at the end of the half with 10 points. Brooks closed out the half with 18 points to put Chicago ahead 50-40.

The Pacers would then take control in the third quarter, digging themselves out of a hole that was 14 points deep (40-54) with 11 minutes left in the third, and ending the quarter down by only four (62-66). Slowly but surely, Indiana came back and built a lead of seven (87-80) with 2:43 left in the game.

With 34.9 left in the fourth, the Bulls' Jimmy Butler hit a 3-pointer that would bounce off the rim, against the backboard, and into the net to tie game at 89-all. After a quick timeout, Indiana's Paul George bounced the ball to Monta Ellis who then went down the lane and lobbed up an easy bucket, putting Indiana up 91-89. Chicago took their last timeout and putting the ball in the hands of Butler, who responded with his own trip down the lane to float in a bucket, tying the game again at 91-all at the end of regulation.

Then came overtime. Chicago hit the century mark (100-95) off an Aaron Brooks driving floating jumpshot with 58 seconds left. With that jumpshot, Brooks tallied 29 points in 40 minutes of play. After Indiana's Solomon Hill hit 2 from the free throw line, Chicago turned the ball over, allowing Indiana an opportunity to tie. Monta Ellis again kept Indiana's hope alive by draining a 3-pointer off a miss and a rebound with 3.7 seconds left to tie the game at 100-all.

In response, Chicago saved the best for last. Coming off of their last timeout, Chicago's Doug McDermott tossed the ball to Pau Gasol who then popped the ball from the 3-point arc to right under the net where Jimmy Butler raced against a running Paul George to leap and tap the ball one-handed into the basket, putting Chicago ahead 102-100 with 1.2 seconds left in overtime. Indiana attempted to run the same play with George running against Butler for the tap in, but the ball came up short.

With this win, Chicago will start 2016 at 18-12 when they host the New York Knicks on New Year's Day. Indiana travels north to Wisconsin where they will play against the Milwaukee Bucks on New Year's Eve.

Photo: Jimmy Butler (R) tipped the game-wining basket as time expired to steer the Chicago Bulls to a thrilling 102-100 overtime win over the Indiana Pacers.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Kristy Gonowon.


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