Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 at 8:00 PM EDT at the United Center

Game Preview: IND at CHI

Scott Agness | March 22, 2013

Matchup

The Pacers are in Chicago on Saturday for the final regular-season battle with their division rival. A win would provide another game cushion to their current 5.5 game lead over Chicago in the race for the Central Division. It would also mark the first time since 2001-02 that the Pacers had won consecutive games on the Bulls’ floor. Indiana has exited the United Center with two wins in its last three visits.

The Bulls (36-31) have dropped two in a row and four of their last five games. Injuries have played a big part in that. In addition to Derrick Rose (knee) yet to play this season, Richard Hamilton, Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich – all key players – have each missed a handful of recent games.

Related: Division Title Central to Pacers' Goals »

In the absence, Marco Belinelli has stepped up and started in each of the last 10 games. During that stretch, he has averaged 12.5 points and four assists. Belinelli, who was signed over the summer, has scored a combined 44 points in the last two meetings with the Pacers.

The Bulls’ frontline of Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah will be the primary concern of the Pacers, especially with David West missing his fourth straight game. Lower back tightness has even made it difficult for West to walk. Noah, who’ll battle Roy Hibbert in the post, averages 12 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

Using those big men, the Bulls run a lot of pick-and-rolls on offense. On the other side of the ball, the Bulls usually do an excellent job of communicating and rotating; however, that has been lacking in their current slide.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

Tyler Hansbrough

Tyler Hansbrough

Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Kirk Hinrich

Kirk Hinrich

Marco Belinelli

Marco Belinelli

Luol Deng

Luol Deng

Carlos Boozer

Carlos Boozer

Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah

Injury Update

Pacers: David West (out, lower back sprain), Danny Granger (out, left knee)
Bulls: Richard Hamilton (day-to-day, lower back), Taj Gibson (day-to-day, left knee), Kirk Hinrich (day-to-day, right foot), Derrick Rose (out, left knee)

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won all three meetings this season.
  • Indiana has won the season series with Chicago for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
  • Bulls big men Joakim Noah and Luol Deng were both All-Stars with Paul George.
  • Chicago has led the NBA in home attendance for three straight seasons, and they’ve sold out their last 120 games.
  • Chicago rookie point guard Marquis Teague is from Indianapolis and attended Pike High School.

Quotable

“It’s going to be even tougher to try and get that fourth win at Chicago. I think our guys are up for the challenge.” – Frank Vogel

“Continue to play the style that we’ve been playing. Same as [last night], it’s going to be a different feeling just because it’s Central Division competition. They always play us tight. We know [what kind] of opponent they are, similar to us in the style that they play – defense first. It’ll be a slug-fest as far as finding ways to score.” – Paul George on what it’ll take to leave Chicago once again with a win

“It's gonna be a tough matchup. We're going to have our hands full with Joakim Noah, an All-Star this year. It's going to be interesting because it's going to be our first game against Chicago without David [West].” – Roy Hibbert

Last Meeting

There was no Rose, Hinrich, Hamilton, Gibson, or win for the Bulls when they visited the Pacers on March 3rd. The Pacers led most of the game and held off a late charge by the Bulls for their third straight victory over the division rival. The Pacers’ 97-92 win was Frank Vogel’s 100th-career victory.

David West led all scorers with 31 points, which included a perfect 9-of-9 mark at the charity stripe. Point guard George Hill was great all around, finishing with 21 points (on 6-of-6 shooting, 3-for-3 from outside) six rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Roy Hibbert had 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 20 points off the bench for Chicago. Marco Belinelli also had 20; Joakim Noah contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds. Nazr Mohammed’s seven points were a season-high.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan (no simulcast on 1070 The Fan), Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst) Michael Grady (host)
Note: Butler can be heard on 93.1FM WIBC, and the IHSAA Boys State Finals is on 1070 The Fan. />/>

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