The Chicago Bulls averted disaster Monday night against the Indiana Pacers pulling off the 96-95 win and avoiding the late-game collapse. Derrick Rose had 23 points and Jimmy Butler had 17 to tow the Bulls to their third straight win.
Rose, who was injured his ankle halfway into the fourth quarter and didn't return, was having a good shooting night (9-of-18 FGs, 2-of-2 3FGs) with 6 assists and steals. Butler matched Rose’s efficiency (6-of-12 FGs) and played good defense in the final possession of the game blocking Paul George’s jumper as the time ran out.
"All of it's positive. For what I went through and all I've been through, just me playing and feeling all right after the game. Of course my ankle's a little bit sore, but I'm just happy nothing's not tore or broken. So I'll be all right,” Rose told ESPN postgame about his latest injury.
George logged in a game-high 26 points with 7 rebounds and 5 assists while Monta Ellis added 20 points for the Pacers, which had a three-game winning streak snapped. The Bulls built a 91-84 lead with 5:52 to go in the game but the Pacers came back and unleashed a 9-2 run to tie the game nearly the 2-minute mark of the final quarter.
Pau Gasol (5 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists) was fouled but hit just 1-of-2 free throws and the Pacers had a chance to grab the lead but shooting guard C.J. Miles missed a three-pointer. On the other end, Butler scored on a jumper to give the Bulls the 96-93 lead.
Chicago will try to extend their winning streak as they embark a four-game road trip that include match-ups against the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers and the Pacers. Meanwhile, Indiana looks poise to return to the win column with a match-up with the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday.