Matchups: Pacers vs. Bulls


PACERS vs. CHICAGO BULLS
Tonight at 7:00, Conseco Fieldhouse
TV: Fox Sports Indiana Radio: 1070 The Fan
Tickets | Injury Report presented by Ortho Indy | Playoff picture

Jim O'Brien
Scouting Report
Since Jim O'Brien's lineup change that promoted Brandon Rush and shifted T.J. Ford to the bench, the Pacers have come to life, winning three of four as the offense has averaged 107.0 points per game on .486 shooting. The lone loss in that stretch came Saturday in Chicago, where the Bulls outscored the Pacers 66-47 in the second-and third periods to take a 112-106 victory. Troy Murphy will return but Jeff Foster, who started in Murphy's place the last three games and averaged 14.3 rebounds, is unlikely to play due to a sore foot. Indiana's magic number for elimination from the playoffs is down to three as the Pacers (31-43) trail the eighth-place Bulls (36-39) by 4½ games. Chicago is coming off a 134-129 overtime loss to the Raptors on Sunday and trails seventh-place Detroit (36-37) by one game.

Vinny Del Negro

Jarrett Jack
Point Guard
Jarrett Jack is settling in as the starter at the point, averaging 18.3 points, 5.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds in four games since being shifted from shooting guard. Jack also has limited his turnovers, committing just two (with 16 assists) in the last two games. Derrick Rose has totaled 39 points in two games since returning to the lineup, including 23 against the Raptors. He flirted with a triple-double against the Pacers (16 points, nine rebounds, eight assists).

Derrick Rose

Brandon Rush
Shooting Guard
Brandon Rush's big weekend started with 18 points in the first quarter on the way to the first of his back-to-back 29-point games. Rush found the going a bit tougher when John Salmons was assigned to guard him. Ben Gordon is an explosive scorer who had 37 against Toronto but struggled defensively against Rush because he gives up so much size.

Ben Gordon

Danny Granger
Small Forward
While Rush has captured imaginations with his spectacular play, Danny Granger has had a couple of nice games lately, totaling 63 over the weekend including 32 in Chicago. In the four games Rush has started, Granger has averaged 28.0 points on .494 shooting overall and .500 from the 3-point line, so he's benefiting from the extra attention that must be paid the rookie. John Salmons scored 22 Saturday including the two biggest buckets of the game, consecutive 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter that turned a 102-99 deficit into a 105-102 lead and the Bulls would not trail again.

John Salmons

Troy Murphy
Power Forward
After missing the last three games with a left knee sprain, Troy Murphy will return to the starting lineup tonight. With 43 double-doubles, Murphy needs five in the last eight games to break Clark Kellogg's franchise record of 47. He also needs to play in five more games or pull 35 more rebounds to officially qualify for the league leaders. Currently third (11.8) and sixth in 3-point percentage (.443), he's on track to become the first player to rank in the top 10 in both categories since Larry BIrd. Tyrus Thomas hurt the Pacers as much with his seven blocked shots as his 18 points and eight rebounds Saturday. With the Pacers trailing 109-106 in the final minute, he snuffed Granger's drive, grabbed the rebound, drew a foul and made both free throws to secure the victory.

Tyrus Thomas

Roy Hibbert
Center
With a nice outing against Washington Sunday (12 points, eight rebounds), Roy Hibbert may have regained some confidence after slumping for a couple of weeks. He was two boards away from his first double-double. Joakim Noah is an energy player who does most of his best work within five feet of the basket on both ends.

Joakim Noah

T.J. Ford
Bench
Marquis Daniels has missed the last five games with a sprained right wrist but T.J. Ford has assumed the sixth man role, averaging 12.8 points, 6.3 assists and 5.5 rebounds while shooting .571 in four games since being shifted to the second unit. Travis Diener has been hot from the arc, making 18-of-34 (.529) in his last 15 games and Rasho Nesterovic is 10-of-14 (.714) from the field in the last three. Stephen Graham has cooled, going 10-of-34 in the last six. The Bulls lean on Brad Miller, who had 17 points and six boards against the Pacers, as well as Kirk Hinrich in a tight second-unit rotation.

Brad Miller