Monday, February 4 at 7:00 PM at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Preview: IND vs CHI

by Scott Agness | February 1, 2013 | Updated February 3 at 9:53 PM

Matchup

Buckle up, because this next week is about as tough of schedule as they come. Nevermind the fact that three of their next four games are at home. When the Pacers' Dec. 26th meeting with the Chicago Bulls was canceled, they had hoped to play the next day, or at least another time that worked well with each teams' schedule. Instead, the NBA plopped the game in the middle of busy stretch for the Pacers, giving them the only set of back-to-back-to-back games this season. Worse yet, four in five days, beginning with their division rival on Monday.

Like the Pacers, the Bulls have favorably managed without their top player. Derrick Rose is rehabbing a left knee injury (torn ACL) that he suffered during last year’s playoffs. He has started practicing with the team and participating in full-contact drills.

In Rose's absence, Joakim Noah, who will make his first All-Star appearance in two weeks, has been a big reason for their success. His numbers, 12 rebounds, 11 rebounds and two blocks per game, have increased along with his minutes. The steady Luol Deng (17 points, seven rebounds) and inside force of Carlos Boozer (16 points, 10 rebounds) are two other big reasons. Those three players in their frontcourt, which ranks second in the league and just one spot ahead of the Pacers, have compensated for a weak and unstable backcourt. Nate Robinson, however, is a guy to keep an eye on because in two meetings (preseason and regular season) against the Pacers, he’s led them in scoring.

Statistically, Chicago’s defense is second only to Indiana. They’re holding teams to 42 percent shooting and about 91 points per game. They are very good at defending the pick-and-roll, so both ball and player movement are imperative.

The injury bug has recently affected the Bulls even further. Noah, Boozer, and Kirk Hinrich each missed Friday’s game in Brooklyn, which resulted in a loss. They did however, win in convincing on Saturday at Atlanta without them.

Keeping Chicago under 90 points will be key, as the Pacers are 22-3 this season when that's the case for opponents. This game will set the tone for the rest of the week and they’ll take it game-by-game. The Pacers took Saturday off ahead of their big week.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Nate Robinson

Richard Hamilton

Luol Deng

Taj Gibson

Jimmy Butler

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee)
Bulls: Derrick Rose (out, left knee), Joakim Noah (game-time decision, plantar fasciitis in his right foot), Carlos Boozer (game-time decision, right hamstring), Kirk Hinrich (not with team, right elbow)

Quotable

“We did it last year and it really didn’t seem like that big of deal when we we’re in it… We’ll take it one game at a time and play Chicago like it’s the only game in the set.” – Frank Vogel on the week ahead

“They’re the team, as defined by Jeff Van Gundy, that brings it harder and more often than anybody in the league. It doesn’t seem to matter who they have in uniform. We saw (Saturday) Boozer out, Noah out, Hinrich out, they still go to Atlanta, on the second night of a back-to-back and win by double digits. They got a great system, they play extremely hard, we got an enormous amount of respect for what they do and we got to play a great game to beat them.” – Frank Vogel on Chicago

“They played so well with that lineup but they’re a system team and guys just stepped into roles. They do a good job of being able to carry out roles but we’re a tough team at home so we just got to get prepared for whoever they put on the floor.” – Paul George on preparing for Chicago

“I think coach has done a great job of taking care of our bodies and preparing us for games. I feel amazing. I feel good.” – Paul George on how his body felt leading into four games in five nights

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won 13 straight home games, dating back to a Dec. 7 loss vs. Denver.
  • Luol Deng will make his second-straight appearance on the All-Star team while Joakim Noah got his first nod.
  • The Bulls 14-7 road record is the best in the league.
  • Bulls rookie Marquis Teague is an Indianapolis native (Pike High School).

Last Meeting

As both teams were without their star player, Indiana's Danny Granger and Chicago’s Derrick Rose, the Pacers completed their first four-game road trip in Chicago with an 80-76 win.

With 3:37 remaining, the Pacers were down 74-70. They went back in front with four-consecutive buckets. Carlos Boozer made a layup, then the Bulls had a shot to tie after David West missed a field goal. Roy Hibbert stood up Luol Deng and came up with a crucial block that would seal the team’s first big road win.

Paul George scored a game-high 34 points (on 14-25 shooting) and grabbed nine rebounds. Roy Hibbert and David West each contributed 10. The Bulls received a big lift off the bench from Nate Robinson, who tallied 19 points (7-of-7 foul shots). Carlos Boozer finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Luol Deng added 17 points. Richard Hamilton sat out with a torn plantar fascia (left foot).

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

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), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)

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