To the victor go the spoils.
It was a game to forget for the Chicago Bulls in their 125-122 loss to the Indiana Pacers on March 5 giving the latter the advantage in any Play-In Tournament tie-breaker scenarios. And, in the aftermath, one Bulls player got a little salt in the wound.
The game was won on Pacers’ star Tyrese Haliburton’s three-pointer with 2.7 seconds to go and sent the Bulls to an 11-22 record in the clutch – defined as games within five points in the final five minutes. The shot itself let Haliburton settle some unfinished business with Bulls guard Patrick Beverley.
Beverley, still a member of the Los Angeles Lakers at the time, had words in response to an interview Haliburton did with JJ Redick on “The Old Man and The Three” in which the former Iowa State standout recounted Beverley’s trash talk from an even earlier meeting when the outspoken Bulls guard was with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“We played the Timberwolves last year – one of my first games here with Indy,” Haliburton said on November 11. “I think I had 25 [points] and 15 [assists]. I had a good game, right? And [Anthony Edwards] guarded me. But after the game, Pat Bev is barking because they won. And I’m like, ‘what?’ And – he guarded Buddy [Hield]. Buddy got like four points. Pat Bev did a good job, whatever. He looked at me dead in my eyes as I walked off the court and was like, ‘You lucky I wasn’t guarding you tonight. I would’ve locked that s*** up. I’m like, ‘what? …We went four quarters you could have switched to the second quarter, the third quarter, the fourth. That one hung with me all the way when I was driving home. I was like, ‘What is he talking about?’ That was one that stuck with me. I was confused.”
The Timberwolves won that game on February 13 of last season 129-120 and Haliburton had missed their meeting with the Kings one day before the trade deadline.
At any rate, Haliburton’s take on the encounter did not sit well with Beverley who used his postgame comments from a meeting nearly one year later as content on his self-titled ‘Pat Bev Podcast with Rone’ on February 7.
The Lakers got the win over the Pacers 112-111 with Beverley credited for holding Haliburton to zero points on 0-for-3 shooting on the night, per NBA.com matchup data.
Flash forward to Sunday and it was Haliburton who got the last laugh several times over first keeping the Pacers within striking distance early on with 16 points in the first quarter including going a perfect 4-for-4 from downtown.
He was held scoreless in the second quarter and had just seven points on 3-for-5 shooting in the third.
Haliburton took just four shots in the fourth, hitting both from deep including the game-winner.
“He shot the ball and it went in,” Beverley said postgame in a video posted to Twitter by Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “Good shot.”
Haliburton was 3-for-3 from the floor for nine points when Beverley guarded him including 2-for-2 from deep.
Tyrese Haliburton’s Development Calls Bulls’ Plan Into Question
“Development is a tricky word,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said before the game, per Mayberry. “Because a lot of people think development means just putting young players out there and letting them play, letting them play through mistakes and letting them just play. And if you do that without establishing accountability for unselfishness, the defensive end, the little things that are important to building championship habits, then you’re not developing. You’re just putting guys out there and letting them get stats. And that can be very dangerous.”
Haliburton has a tweet from his rookie season pinned to his profile. In it, he laughs off the predraft questions about his funky-looking jumper.
The 6-foot-5 lead guard has never shot below the 40.5% from deep that he is shooting this season in which he earned his first All-Star nomination.
Chicago drafted Patrick Williams fourth overall that year and his development has been far slower than Haliburton’s, though there have been tempered flashes. It is also not as though the Bulls were the only team to overlook the talented passer.
They are in a unique situation, however, with Lonzo Ball’s future still clouded.
Bulls Trending Further Into Despair
Beverley pointed to the Pacers’ 13 offensive rebounds for the loss, the Bulls’ second in a row and third in the last four tries. The Bulls are now 12th in the Eastern Conference 1.5 games outside of the Play-In Tournament with just 17 more games to go.
To Beverley’s point, they are third in the NBA this season in defensive rebound percentage on the season but have cratered checking in at 30th over their last five games.
That is just the tip of the iceberg, explains K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
“The Bulls currently own an offensive rating ranked 24th, dragged down considerably their cellar-dwelling 3-point makes and attempts.
“The Bulls’ defensive rating currently sits seventh, while their net rating of plus-0.3 ranks 16th. That net rating actually is better than three teams—Miami, Atlanta and Washington—currently holding play-in spots.”