Hield, Pacers end dreadful losing streak
He’s known for his offensive prowess, but Bahamian National Basketball Association (NBA) player Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield came through on the defensive end on Tuesday, recording four steals and three blocked shots in 39 minutes on the floor to help the Indiana Pacers come back from 21 points down to beat the Chicago Bulls, 116-110.
Playing on their home court at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Pacers got a much-needed victory, ending their longest losing streak of the season at seven games. Hield’s blocked shots tied a career-high and both steals and blocks were significantly higher than his season averages of one steal per game and 0.3 blocked shots per game.
The win has the Pacers sporting a 24-25 win/loss record on the season and they sit in ninth in the Eastern Conference of the NBA. As mentioned, the win also snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Pacers.
Pacers starting shooting guard Hield was still productive as his usual self on the offensive side of the ball, finishing with 19 points on 5-for-14 shooting from the field. Four of those five made field goals came from beyond the three-point line. He also had five rebounds and four assists in this matchup.
It was not a pretty beginning for the Pacers as they went down by as many as 21 points in the first half, but it was the 11th time this season they came back from a double-digit deficit. In fact, this was their second time coming back after being down by 20 or more points.
The Bulls got off to a strong start on the offensive side of the ball, jumping out to an 8-0 lead at the start of the game. The Pacers’ T.J. McConnell connected on a layup at the 9:30 mark that stopped that run. Hield’s first made shot of the game, a three-pointer, cut the Bulls’ lead to 18-5 with 7:24 left in the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter, the Bulls led 33-21 after leading by as many as 16 points in that quarter.
The Bulls held their largest lead of 21 points at 62-41 on an Ayo Dosunmu made free throw with 1:40 left in the first half. The Bulls completely controlled the first half as the Pacers never led and the Bulls went into the half with a 62-46 lead.
The Pacers played much better in the third quarter as they managed to outscore the Bulls, 34-25. Hield and his team were able to get the deficit down to single digits at the end of the third quarter, 87-80.
The Pacers continued to fight in the final period and got their first lead of the game when McConnell made a layup at the 4:27 mark to give them a 102-100 lead. After the score was tied at 106 with 1:59 left, Hield blocked Zach LaVine’s shot.
After going up 112-110 with 9.2 seconds left, Hield got his fourth and final steal of the night. Aaron Nesmith’s two made free throws put the Pacers up 114-110. Hield calmly sank two insurance free throws with seven seconds remaining in the game.
The Pacers played the back half of a back-to-back against the Orlando Magic last night but the result was unavailable up to press time. Their next chance to step on the court will be against the Milwaukee Bucks on their home court on Friday. That game tips off at 7 p.m.