|Date of game: 12/29/2014
Recap: Indiana vs. Chicago
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Jimmy Butler tallied 27 points and nine rebounds and the Chicago Bulls overcame a sluggish fourth quarter and held off the Indiana Pacers, 92-90, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Pau Gasol scored 20 points for Chicago, which nearly squandered a 21-point lead. Mike Dunleavy, who had a game-high 10 rebounds, made it 75-54 with his three-point play late in the third quarter, but a prolonged scoring drought and impressive resilience from the hosts led to the near comeback.
Chicago missed an unprecedented 17 straight shots following the Dunleavy three-point play. It didn't make a field goal until Gasol's turnaround jumper at 3:27 of the fourth.
Meanwhile, the Pacers scored 20 straight points to surge in front. Chris Copeland had 11 during the spurt, including a personal 7-0 run. Lavoy Allen's layup at 6:15 gave the Pacers a lead and Luis Scola's jumper made it 86-83.
Butler's 3 from the right wing with just over a minute to play restored Chicago's lead. Then, after two empty possessions both ways, the Pacers had a final look to win the game.
"I'm confident in my game and so are my teammates," Butler said. "I feel like I have to step up and take and make shots late."
Scola secured the rebound on Joakim Noah's missed tip with two seconds remaining. Pacers coach Frank Vogel immediately signaled for a timeout, but it wasn't rewarded until there were 0.5 seconds showing.
Despite that, Indiana got a great look at the basket. C.J. Watson broke free on the inbounds from near midcourt and set himself for a 3-point try from the baseline, but it missed short at the buzzer.
"The lesson to be learned is that you have to keep playing," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "No lead is safe in this league."
Copeland scored 13 of his team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter.
"Get stops and play quick," said Copeland. "We really dug in defensively, we moved the ball. Everybody stayed dangerous, and that led to the comeback."
Chicago trailed 17-16 late in the first quarter when Butler's layup sparked an 11-0 run that spanned two periods. Taj Gibson split a pair at the line at 9:47 of the second, giving the Bulls a 10-point advantage.
Indiana trimmed the margin back to four midway through the second, but Butler and Derrick Rose hit momentum-killing 3-pointers and Butler beat the halftime buzzer with a dunk, sending Chicago into halftime with a 47-35 lead.Game Notes
The Bulls have won seven straight games ... Indiana's reserves outscored its
starters, 48-42 ... Both teams shot 5-for-13 from behind the arc ... Rose
scored 17 points on 5-for-20 shooting.