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Chicago Bulls throw away 24-point lead to Pacers

Chicago Bulls
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Chicago BullsIn the realm of sports, it is typical for a team or player to take the lead before being overtaken and losing.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls had an opportunity to overcome the Indiana Pacers, but they squandered it and lost.

Lost composure

For the fifth game in a row, the Chicago Bulls were unable to maintain control, falling to the Pacers 117-113 after wasting a 24-point lead.

Coach Billy Donovan attributed the Bulls’ failure to win a game they should have dominated to their loss of composure.

The club overcame their recent slump in long-range shooting by making 15 3-pointers.

Zach LaVine put on a spectacular performance despite playing without DeMar DeRozan; he finished the game with 35 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists.

However, it wasn’t enough to give the Bulls a win.

When questioned about the Chicago Bulls’ sloppiness in the last quarter, Donovan responded: “That was it.”

“Just being settled, being able to make the right passes, the right plays, really on both ends of the floor,” he added.

“I thought there were a lot of things we did where giving up two points turns into, like, eight.”

“But I do think the poise and the composure and just being able to pass it where it needs to go, to screen to catch.”

“This has happened to a lot of us,” the Bulls coach continued.

“We compete pretty hard but the game gets ratchet up physically, mentally, emotionally. And you have to be able to come down on both ends and be detailed and focused and execute.”

“You have to talk and communicate on defense. And then you have to be able to get into offense and generate as good of shots as you can.”

A string of bad luck

The Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers game is the second-largest lead that was squandered in the NBA season.

This season, the Chicago Bulls have already lost five games after holding a 16-point lead.

The Bulls had blown a 21-point lead in their opening contest, which was played in the same Gainbridge Fieldhouse, just three weeks prior.

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The Bulls also lost games at home to the Los Angeles Clippers and the Washington Wizards after having leads of 19 and 16 points, respectively.

“I don’t want to use the word trend,” said Donovan.

“But what I would say is it’s something this group has to overcome. It’s an obstacle in front of us.”

The Pacers game

The Chicago Bulls got off to a fantastic start despite losing.

Before the first quarter was over, they had a 24-point edge thanks to Coby White’s successful one out of five 3-pointers during the game.

This season, White has already scored a season-high 25 points.

Just three teams have overcome a larger first-quarter deficit since the shot clock was implemented in 1954–1955, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

No other team has pulled off a feat like this since 2008

“The intensity level continues to go up, and we’ve gotta be able to play all the way through,” said the Bulls coach.

“It’s the poise, the composure, understanding time and score.”

After building a big lead in the first half of the game, the Chicago Bulls let up 75 points in the second.

“A lot of 3s they made in the second half, you gotta understand the personnel,” Donovan explained.

“Not to show any disrespect to anybody on their team, but you don’t want to be leaving Buddy Hield to rotate to somebody that’s not Buddy Hield.”

“Those things we have to, in the moment, be able to make better decisions and quicker decisions.”

Following that, Hield connected on six of Indiana Pacers’ 18 shots from beyond the 3-point line.

Postgame sentiments

Billy Donovan felt that the Chicago Bulls should have helped Nikola Vucevic, who was frequently matched up against the domineering Aaron Nesmith after the loss.

Yet Donovan acknowledged that he had some responsibility.

“I gotta try to help them more,” said Donovan. “You try to talk about things, show things (on film).”

“We’re all in it together. And when we’re coming down the stretch, we have to be able to execute.”

After the Chicago Bulls suffered yet another defeat to extend their losing streak, LaVine provided similar answers.

“We talk about it. We’ve been here before,” said LaVine.

“Try to sustain it. Change the momentum a little bit. We gave ourselves a chance but a little too short.”

Image source: NBA