Friday, October 26 at 7:00 PM at the Joyce Center (South Bend, IN)
Game Preview (Preseason): IND vs CHI
by Scott Agness
In the final preseason game, the top two teams in the Central Division, Indiana and Chicago, face-off in neutral territory on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend.
The Bulls have won the division each of the last two years. However, with Derrick Rose out for an extended period of time due to injury, many peg the Pacers to win the division for the first time in nine years.
Indiana will probably be without their starting point guard, George Hill, who has yet to play in a preseason game or practice since suffering a hip pointer. D.J. Augustin has filled the void and finally showed the team what they wanted to see Tuesday in an 18-point victory over Cleveland. He ended the night with 9 points and 11 assists.
Danny Granger saw the court for the first time last game and was efficient in the twelve minutes Coach Vogel would allow, scoring 9 points and grabbing 3 boards. Granger will likely play about 20 minutes tonight in their preseason finale.
This game is especially sweet for one Pacers player—newcomer Ben Hansbrough, who is two years removed from college at Notre Dame. He made it through first cuts (Blake Ahearn, Sundiata Gaines and Luke Nevill were released) but he still believes he has a lot to prove.
As for Chicago, they return their nucleus from last season minus Rose, who is still rehabbing a torn ACL. They opted not to match Houston’s offer for big-man Omer Asik, signed Nazr Mohammed and traded for Kirk Hinrich. In the draft, the Bulls drafted Pike-product Marquis Teague out of Kentucky. Even with Rose out, he's yet to make a real impact, averaging less than 5 minutes per game.
The Bulls are a determined basketball team who focus on the defensive end. They are 4-2 in the preseason and coming off an impressive 94-89 home win against Oklahoma City, last year’s Western Conference Champion. Although it's just preseason, look for both teams to send a message that they are the team to beat in the division.
- C – Roy Hibbert
- F – David West
- F – Danny Granger
- G – Paul George
- G – DJ Augustin
- C – Joakim Noah
- F – Carlos Boozer
- F – Luol Deng
- G – Richard Hamilton
- G – Nate Robinson
Pacers: George Hill (doubtful, hip pointer)
Bulls: Kirk Hinrich (questionable, right groin strain), Derrick Rose (out, rehabbing torn ACL)
"Their bench is very different. They’re second in the league, in preseason, in field goal defense and that's no surprise. They are going to be great defensively, they are going to share the ball offensively and they’re going to be a really good team." – Frank Vogel on Chicago
"It’s always a concern whether he is going to be in there or not. We feel like he’s going to be ready by (the regular season)... it's a concern, but it's not the end of the world." – Vogel on Hill missing the preseason with a hip pointer
"I’m happy to still be here and I just have to keep fighting and keep proving myself." – Ben Hansbrough on still being on the roster
"It's going to be a great experience. It's been almost two years since I've played there and obviously, I love Notre Dame. It’s been awhile since I've been on that court and plus, I've only lost one game there, ever, so I like my percentages." – Ben Hansbrough on playing at his alma mater
- The last time the Pacers played at a university in the state of Indiana was in 2009, at IU's Assembly Hall against George Hill and the San Antonio Spurs.
- Indy-native Marquis Teague faces his hometown team for the first time.
- The Bulls recently waived Ryan Allen and Marko Jaric.
The Bulls won the best of three meetings last season 2-1, including the last two. In the most recent battle, Chicago defeated Indiana 92-87 on April 25th at the Fieldhouse in the regular season finale.
Lance Stephenson started his first ever game, hit 10-of-15 shots and went on to score a game-high 22 points. It was a night to remember for the thousands of fans in attendance because at halftime, members of the 1970, 1972, and 1973 ABA teams were honored—especially Hall of Famer Mel Daniels.
Kyle Korver paced the Bulls with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Joakim Noah had a solid overall game, recording 14 points and 14 rebounds in the win. Derrick Rose, who would later suffer a season-ending injury in the playoffs, finished with 10 points and 7 assists.
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play)
The Pacers open the regular season Oct. 31st in Toronto, with the first home game being Saturday, November 3rd against the Sacramento Kings. Tickets for Opening Night are on sale now.