Friday, October 18th, 2013 at 8:00 PM ET at United Center

Preseason Game Preview: Pacers at Bulls

Scott Agness | October 17, 2013

Matchup

The preseason continues for the Pacers this weekend, as they square off against the Chicago Bulls on Friday and Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday – both on the road. In fact, the Pacers’ final four tune-ups to the regular season are all away from home, something the team isn’t very happy about. But they’re playing the hand they were dealt.

The Pacers (0-4) and Bulls (4-0) have had contrasting preseasons, though they do have one thing in common; they both participated in the NBA Global Games. The Bulls played the NBA’s first-ever game in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last week and they edged the Washington Wizards 83-81.

On Wednesday, Bulls fans watched their star point guard, Derrick Rose, suit up for a game at the United Center for the first time since April 28, 2012. He had surgery after tearing his left ACL during the 2012 playoffs and then he sat out all of last season. In a win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, Rose scored 22 points and had two assists in just 22 minutes.

Bulls center Joakim Noah, who always provides Roy Hibbert with a challenge inside, returned to the court last game after missing their first three games of the preseason. However, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said at morning shootaround that they’ll shut Noah down for a week due to his nagging groin injury.

Meanwhile, the Pacers held a short, but intense practice Thursday before catching their short flight to Chicago. Guys were unusually vocal and physical. Chris Copeland talked afterwards to reporters with a scrape below his right eye. Paul George, who is dealing with bronchitis, returned to practice Thursday and made the trip with the team to Chicago. Danny Granger (strained left calf) didn’t practice but said that he would definitely play if it weren’t still the preseason.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel wouldn’t say whether anyone would be held out of either game this weekend, but it is likely, especially in the second game because of playing on consecutive nights.

Vogel will continue to experiment with lineups. At this point, it’s more about the players gaining chemistry with the guys they’re going to play alongside. It’s also been clear that the newcomers are still trying to understand the system and run the plays correctly. After all, that’s what preseason is for.

Probable Starters

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

David West

David West

Paul George

Paul George

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

George Hill

George Hill

Nazr Mohammed

Nazr Mohammed

Carlos Boozer

Carlos Boozer

Luol Deng

Luol Deng

Mike Dunleavy

Mike Dunleavy

Kirk Hinrich

Kirk Hinrich

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (day-to-day, strained left calf)
Bulls: Joakim Noah (out, groin), Jimmy Butler (game-time decision, left knee contusion)

Quotable

“Everything that happened (this preseason), whether it’s good or bad, is learning and growing. If guys make solid plays or positive plays, that’s good. If they make negative plays, then we got a chance to teach them what to expect in that situation.” – Frank Vogel on the preseason

“It was very physical, as you can see (as we looked at a cut below his right eye). That’s what it’s all about. It’s going to be a tough, hard-nosed team so I think that was good for us today.” – Chris Copeland on their intense practice.

“I'm a little bit nervous because we're not playing well. I'm hoping we can get better (than) last year, so at this point … we're a little bit behind.” – Luis Scola

“It’s been hell. Just bed rest, really. A lot of time being at home being bored. … I had a 104-degree fever. I had the chills and was sweating like crazy every time I napped. Yeah, I was bad. I was pretty bad.” – Paul George on his week

Noteworthy

  • The Bulls have won six straight preseason meetings against the Pacers, dating all the way back to 2008.
  • The Pacers released guard Ron Howard and forward Darnell Jackson on Thursday.
  • In the offseason, the Bulls signed ex-Pacer Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Indiana alum D.J. White. Former Pacers guard Dahntay Jones was waived since the two teams last faced each other on Oct. 5.
  • The Bulls have led the league in attendance in each of the last four seasons, averaging 21,877 fans per game at the United Center. They have even sold out their previous eight preseason games.

Last Meeting

Oct. 5: In a preseason game that had the atmosphere of a critical playoff affair, the Pacers had a six-point lead entering the fourth but made just two field goals in the period and lost at home, 82-76. This game, which marked the return of Danny Granger and Derrick Rose from injuries, attracted dozens of national media and was watched with anticipation on NBA TV.

Paul George and David West scored 14 points apiece. Roy Hibbert nearly recorded a double-double as he finished with 11 points and nine rebounds. Bulls forward Taj Gibson scored a game-high 18 points and Luol Deng added 15. The Bulls won the battle of the boards (+18) and outscored the Pacers by eight in the paint.

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TV: NBA TV
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)

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