Oladipo’s 3-pointer caps Pacers’ comeback vs. Bulls
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo played the role of spoiler Wednesday night.
Looking poised to end an NBA-long nine-game losing streak, the Chicago Bulls could only hold off the Indiana Pacers and Oladipo for 47 minutes.
Oladipo hit a 3-pointer with 31.1 seconds remaining as the Indiana Pacers rallied from a 16-point deficit in the final 9 1/2 minutes to defeat the Chicago Bulls 98-96 on Wednesday.
“What I learned from the team tonight is that they stuck together,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I felt like they believed the entire time that they were going to get it right and win this game. It really took us all 48 minutes to get control of this game.
“Victor made some big shots in that fourth quarter and the transition three to put us ahead just shows the confidence that he’s playing with.”
Oladipo scored 11 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, when the Pacers outscored Chicago 29-13 and produced nine points off six turnovers. Oladipo gave Indiana its first lead of the game by capitalizing on a Chicago giveaway.
With 54.7 seconds remaining, Denzel Valentine rebounded a missed layup by Oladipo. As the shot clock wound down, Oladipo stole the ball from Valentine and hit a 3-pointer for a 97-96 lead.
Bulls guard Kris Dunn missed a 20-footer with 19.5 seconds left. Oladipo split a pair at the line with 12.8 seconds to go, but Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen missed a 3-pointer just before the buzzer sounded.
Oladipo’s shot sent the Bulls (3-20) to their 10th straight loss and lifted Indiana (14-11) to its seventh win in 10 games.
“This one stings a lot,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said afterward. “Those guys in (the locker room) are hurt and are down. It’s a hard one, a really, really hard one because we had control for the majority of it. And we played really good, unselfish basketball.”
All five Indiana starters reached double figures.
Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points, Darren Collison contributed 14 while Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young finished with 11 and 10, respectively.
Dunn led the Bulls with 18 points, Robin Lopez added 16 and Valentine contributed 15. Valentine also committed four of Chicago’s 16 turnovers.
Bobby Portis added 12 points while Markkanen and David Nwaba added 11 apiece for Chicago.
The Bulls shot 47 percent from the floor overall but missed 13 of 18 shots in the fourth quarter. The Pacers made 44.8 percent of their field-goal attempts.
Coming into Wednesday, the Bulls were the NBA’s worst team in points scored per game (95.6) and field goal percentage (41.3).
For much of the game, Chicago was on pace to easily eclipse those numbers.
Chicago held an 87-71 lead with 9:41 remaining on a reverse layup by Nwaba and still led by 13 on a 3-pointer by Paul Zipser with 7:14 left but did not get another field goal until nearly five minutes later when Dunn’s finger roll made it 96-92.
“We gave them a little confidence and they started playing really well,” Oladipo said of the Bulls getting off to a quick and leading for the first 47 minutes. “We dug ourselves in a hole and we had to fight back.”
It was an ugly first-half for Indiana. They scored a season-low 39 points.
With Oladipo leading the way, the Pacers scored 59 points in the final two quarters.
Chicago led by 16 at halftime and kept that lead at double-digits for much of the third quarter.
The Bulls shot 52.3 percent through the first three quarters and held an 83-69 lead into the fourth.
“It hurts,” a dejected Valentine said. “You keep talking about us being young and making mistakes, and our youth definitely showed in the fourth quarter, with our, defense, rebounding and shots.”
NOTES: Chicago G Kris Dunn scored or assisted on 20 of the Bulls’ first 25 points. ... The Pacers scored a season-low 39 points in the first half. ... The teams have split the first two meetings this season. They conclude their season series Jan. 6 in Indiana.