NBA: Bulls overcome Caris LeVert’s 42 points to top Pacers
Nikola Vucevic scored a season-high 36 points and grabbed 17 rebounds as the Chicago Bulls overcame a sizzling performance by Caris LeVert in a 122-115 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday in Indianapolis.
DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points and Javonte Green added 16 for Chicago, which shot 54.4 percent while playing the second of four games in five nights.
The Bulls outscored Indiana 70-54 in the paint and won for the fifth time in the past seven games.
— NBA (@NBA) February 5, 2022
LeVert shot 19 of 26 and led the Pacers with a season-high 42 points, including 28 in the first half. Terry Taylor tallied 21 points and 14 rebounds while Duane Washington Jr. added 17 points and Chris Duarte had 12.
Indiana trailed by 12 late in the fourth quarter before trimming the deficit to 118-115 on Justin Holiday’s 3-pointer with 36.4 seconds left.
Rookie Ayo Dosunmu, who posted his third career double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds, dunked with 16.3 seconds left to put the Bulls ahead 120-115.
Matt Thomas made two foul shots to help Chicago secure a 3-1 season-series victory over the Pacers.
Both teams got off to a scorching start in the first quarter. The Pacers trailed 40-33 despite the efforts of LeVert, who recorded the highest-scoring first quarter in franchise history with 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting.
Chicago shot 64.3 percent and set a season-high for points scored in the first quarter.
Vucevic had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the first half for the Bulls, who took a 65-62 into the break.
Chicago’s big man shot 16 of 21 for the game and dominated the paint against Indiana’s depleted frontcourt.
The Pacers were without several key players, including Myles Turner (left foot), Domantas Sabonis (health and safety protocol), Goga Bitadze (right foot) and Isaiah Jackson (right ankle).
Chicago extended its lead to 11 early in the third quarter before Indiana battled back and took its only lead of the game at 86-85 on Lance Stephenson’s 3-pointer with 2:57 left.
The Bulls closed by scoring eight of the final 12 points and took a 93-90 lead into the final period.
Chicago played without Zach LaVine (back spasms), Coby White (adductor), Lonzo Ball (knee) and Alex Caruso (wrist).