Monday, March 24, 2014 at 8:00 PM ET at the United Center
Game Preview: Pacers at Bulls
Scott Agness | Updated: March 24, 2014, 10:55 a.m.
The Pacers (51-19) and Chicago Bulls (39-31) meet again Monday night for the second time in four days, this time in the Windy City. While the Pacers already have crossed 50 wins, locked in a playoff spot (either the one or two seed), the Bulls could work themselves all the way up to No. 3, as they are just a half game back from Toronto.
Indiana’s stop in Chicago is its second game of a two-game trip that included a visit to Memphis on Saturday. With 12 games to play for the Pacers, seven of them are road games.
Since the team’s last played, the Pacers went into Memphis and had their worst offensive outing of the season, scoring 30 first-half points and finishing with just 71 points, both season lows. Their defensive effort, which kept the Grizzlies to 82 points, wasn’t the problem. Their offensive execution lacked, shots weren’t falling, and they “didn’t play at a high level,” according to center Roy Hibbert, who went 20 minutes without a rebound.
The Bulls, meanwhile, returned home and sent the Philadelphia 76ers away with their 24th consecutive loss, the second-longest losing streak in the history of the NBA.
Chicago has managed to have a successful season without Derrick Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, who has once again been sidelined for the year because of a knee injury, and impending free agent Luol Deng, who was traded away mid-season to clear cap space. Tom Thibodeau, the 2011 Coach of the Year, has a system where tough-minded players with heart can succeed.
The Pacers are 2-1 against the Bulls this season, handling both games in Indianapolis. In their lone previous visit to Chicago, the Bulls handed Indiana their first loss of the season after winning nine straight. That loss was the Pacers' only one in the month of November (they went 13-1 in the month overall).
With a win tonight at the United Center, the Pacers would clinch their second division title in a row, and the sixth in franchise history.
Pacers: Andrew Bynum (out, sore right knee), C.J. Watson (out, right hamstring strain)
Bulls: Derrick Rose (out, right knee)
“Playoff adjustments. When you’re playing in the playoffs, you play a team and you got to make adjustments two days later and that’s what these two games are going to feel like. From that standpoint, it’ll be good for our guys to dial in to adjustments.” – Frank Vogel on whether there’s any value to playing the Bulls twice in four days this late in the season
“He’s been huge for us. He had a need and he had a need. We needed shooting, and he’s provided that. The one thing that we did know was he was capable of doing it because he had already done it. He had done it at Charlotte, and I thought he played well here — his role was obvious different because it was less minutes. I knew from having to prepare against him how I felt from doing that.” – Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau on D.J. Augustin
“They’re a very good team and I’m excited to play them again in a couple of days, I’m excited to play them come playoff time. We’ll be back.” – Bulls forward Joakim Noah after Friday’s game
- Since the 2008-09 season, the Bulls are 12-2 against the Pacers, including postseason play, at the United Center. In three of the last four meetings, the Pacers have held the Bulls to less than 90 points.
- A win would be Indiana’s 20th of the season on the road, an accomplishment that’s only happened four times in franchise history.
- Bulls center Joakim Noah has recorded at least eight rebounds and four assists in 10 straight games, the longest-active streak in the league.
March 21: The Pacers made a statement to themselves, remembering just how dominant they can be when they play together, share the ball, and clamp down on the defensive end. They held the Bulls to 36 percent shooting and 79 points in a 91-79 victory in Indianapolis. The win was a total team effort, as the Pacers assisted on 27 of their 34 field goals,.
Paul George achieved his second career triple-double — 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists — but it was Luis Scola’s performance that stood out. Scola finished with 19 points (on 9-of-12 shooting), his highest total with the Pacers. All five starters scored in double figures for the first time in 12 games and Indiana won the rebounding battle, 51-36. Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 12 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, while both D.J. Augustin and Jimmy Butler had 17 points each.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)