Enhanced Box Score: Pacers 125, Bulls 122 – March 5, 2022

If you wanted to see two young stars play like two young stars, this was the first half for you.

Highlighted by a Tyrese Haliburton cold step-back corner 3 over Zach LaVine, which was quickly followed by LaVine’s own 3-point make, the two All-Stars went back and forth with some electric shotmaking over the first two frames. LaVine walked into the locker room with 24 points on a 7-12 performance from the field, while Haliburton had 16 points and 4 assists on his own efficient 6-8 effort.

Outside of that fun battle, however, the Bulls suffered from their same old problems. While they didn’t blow a 20+ points lead (hooray!), they did find themselves in double-digits before allowing the Pacers to go on a 17-4 run and eventually take their own double-digit lead (boo!). Even more frustrating, Chicago entered halftime shooting a stellar 64 percent from the field … but Indiana had a 30-12 advantage behind the arc and an 11-0 advantage in second-chance points (even more boos!).

To the Bulls’ credit, they never took their foot off the gas. Unlike in previous contests against this same Pacers team, the Bulls did at least look like they had something to play for. And, well, that’s because they did. A win for Indiana would mean surpassing Chicago in the standings and locking in the tiebreaker advantage. In other words, the Bulls would fall to 12th and remain outside the postseason if the Bulls and Pacers were to tie for the 10th-best record.

As far as must-win games go, this felt like one for a veteran-laden squad. But disappointment reared its ugly head again. Despite LaVine continuing his red-hot night and the Bulls eventually reclaiming the lead with 5:00 minutes to go, they couldn’t do enough to secure the victory. Instead, we saw Patrick Beverley commit a flagrant foul with 2:47 left on Halburton’s game-tying jumper. This led to a 5-point possession that only further pushed the momentum in the Pacers’ favor.

The Bulls were able to still flip-flop the lead as the minutes ran off the clock (LaVine and DeRozan scored the final 22 points for the Bulls), but the Pacers ultimately made the biggest shot of the night. Tyrese Haliburton chucked up a tough 30-footer with 2.7 left and drained it with ease. While the Bulls had a chance to tie, I don’t think anyone actually believed it would happen. And it didn’t.

So, yeah, the Bulls are now 3-8 since their do-nothing trade deadline. Arturas Karnisovas stuck with this squad and said that he believed a postseason pursuit was in the cards. As of now, they’re closer to the 13th-place Orlando Magic than the 10th-place Wizards.

Check out the full box score here.

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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