Game Preview: Pacers vs Bulls
Scott Agness | November 5, 2013
NOTE: The gates at Bankers Life Fieldhouse will open 90 minutes prior to tip-off, at 5:30 pm on Wednesday.
The Chicago Bulls visit Indianapolis on Wednesday for the team’s first regular season matchup. Bragging rights and a division win are on the line at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and in front of a nationally televised audience on ESPN. The Pacers, who won last year’s season series 3-1, are the defending Central Division champions. The Bulls, who earned that title from 2010-12, wants the crown back.
The Pacers are in the midst of a grueling schedule, four games in five nights and five games over seven days – including two sets of back-to-backs. Though the Pacers are back home, they played Tuesday night in Detroit whereas the Bulls last played on Saturday.
Danny Granger remains out with a calf injury and George Hill has missed the previous two games due to a sore left hip. Hill practiced some on Monday, but head coach Frank Vogel said he was still limited and clearly wasn’t 100 percent.
The Bulls (1-2) went 8-0 in the preseason, but they’ve started the regular season sloppy. They lost to both Miami and Philadelphia, and narrowly edged New York by one point.
Derrick Rose has returned from his knee surgery that kept him out the entire 2012-13 season. After turning in stellar preseason performances, Rose admits that he’s not playing well in the regular season. He’s averaging 14.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. As far as the team goes, he isn’t overreacting to their 1-2 start – nor should he – and says they’ve got to improve on their chemistry and aggressiveness.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, strained left calf), George Hill (day-to-day, sore left hip)
“It’s going to be tough. Cleveland made improvements, Detroit obviously made improvements and Chicago’s always a tough opponent so it’s gonna be a tough job for us to win a back-to-back division title but this team is cut out for it, we have the makeup for it.” – Paul George on the division
“I take this as a test. We’ll see where we’re at – four games in five days. That’s going to be tough. … We’re trying to get every game. We’re trying to play hard, and play smart and get every one.” – Lance Stephenson on this week
“Summer work and keep shooting. It’s more [about] confidence. I get in the gym and work on it, it comes easy in the games.” – Lance Stephenson on what’s responsible for his improved 3-point shooting
- The Bulls are 6-21 all-time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
- The Pacers have the NBA's top defense so far this season. They lead the league in opponent field goal percentage, opponent points per game and blocks per game.
- In the offseason, the Bulls signed ex-Pacer Mike Dunleavy and drafted both Tony Snell and Erik Murphy.
Oct. 19: Five Pacers finished in double figures, led by Paul George’s 22, but he missed multiple attempts late in the game and the Pacers fell to the Bulls for the second time in the preseason, 103-98. Derrick Rose, who scored 32 on 9-of-15 shooting, went off in the final four minutes of the game and scored 10 of the Bulls’ final 13 points – propelling them to their fifth straight preseason win.
Lance Stephenson (11 points, eight assists and seven rebounds) flirted with a triple-double off the bench. Granger started the game and looked the sharpest he had looked since the 2012 playoffs, but then he re-aggravated his left calf in the third quarter and hasn’t played another minute since.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
ESPN - Mike Breen (play-by-play), Hubie Brown (analyst), Chris Broussard (reporter)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
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