Game Preview: Pacers vs Bulls
Sunday, March 3th at 8:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: IND vs CHI
Scott Agness | March 1, 2013, 7:19 PM
Editor's Note: Fans will be able to enter the seating area 90 minutes before tip-off for this game and the Sunday matchup with Bulls. Fans arriving early will be able to enjoy the various entertainment and dining options of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, including the Player Greeting Session near the Main Court, Pacemates and Boomer autograph sessions on the Main Concourse, and the full menu of Fieldhouse concessions
Just about a month removed from their last visit, the Chicago Bulls make their final regular season visit to Indianapolis for a Central Division clash on primetime TV Sunday night. Televised nationally on ESPN, the Pacers are after their third-consecutive win over the Bulls, who've finished atop the Central Division in each of the past two seasons.
The Pacers have a marginally better record than the Bulls and have been more successful at home and within the division. Road contests, however, have been the Pacers’ weakness and a strength for the Bulls.
Having won 17 of 28 games on the road this season, the Bulls have the second-best road winning percentage in the league just behind San Antonio. They have 10 home and 13 away games remaining on their regular-season schedule.
The Pacers have Danny Granger, their former leading scorer, back while the Bulls continue to wait on Derrick Rose’s return. The 2011 NBA MVP means much more to his team than Granger and they’re uncertain when or if he will return this season. He has participated in drills and even dunked in front of local media, but still isn't quite ready. Rose tore the ACL in his left knee during the first round of last year’s playoffs.
Chicago will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back after hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night. They, too, have a stingy defense. Ranked third, just below the Pacers, the Bulls only give up about 91 points per game and are holding opponents to 43 percent shooting.
Two All-Stars, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, have been the catalysts of this team. Deng leads the team in scoring with 16.5 per game and Noah turns in a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) nearly every game. In a win over Philadelphia on Thursday, Noah finished with an incredible 23 points, 21 rebounds 11 blocks and three steals in 45 minutes.
Within their system, the Bulls are especially talented in defensive rotations and executing pick-and-rolls on offense. They get after you on the glass and with loose balls, and effort rarely is a problem.
In need of depth inside as Taj Gibson is out for at least a couple weeks with an MCL sprain, the Bulls signed Lou Amundson to a 10-day contract on Friday. According to reports, Amundson received interest from other top East teams likes New York, Boston and Miami. In 60 games with the Pacers last season, Amundson, who quickly became a fan favorite for his hard work and aggressive attitude on the boards, averaged 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds.
Bulls: Derrick Rose (out, left knee), Taj Gibson (out, left knee), Richard Hamilton (day-to-day, lower back)
“What’s made him different is his will ... He knows there's more needed when their team is struggling. He’s going to do whatever it takes to win and that’s what I respect about him and that’s why he’s playing at the level he’s playing at.” – Frank Vogel on Joakim Noah
"It's just humbling that I'm in this position and surrounded by such a good team." – Frank Vogel on what his 100th win would mean
- The Pacers have won the last two meetings. A win Sunday would give the Pacers their first three-game winning streak in the series since they won four in a row in 2004.
- Tom Thibodeau was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in January as his team went 12-4.
- Rookie point guard Marquis Teague is from Indianapolis and attended Pike High School.
- With a win, Frank Vogel would capture his 100th-career victory.
- The Pacers have won a game on every day of the week, except Sunday (0-3) and each of those games was decided by double digits.
- The Bulls’ charter plane had mechanical problems so they arrived in Indy late Sunday morning.
- Bankers Life Fieldhouse doors open at 6:30 PM for the game.
In their last meeting, which began a stretch of three games in three nights, the Pacers held off a late comeback by Marco Belinelli and the Bulls in their 111-101 win. The Pacers never trailed in the fourth quarter and led by as many as 14. They made every one of their 10 shots at the free throw line over the final 65 seconds to help secure the win and take a 2-0 series lead.
David West scored 29 points and George Hill finished with 22 points and six assists. The Bulls had seven players in double figures, led by Marco Belinelli’s season-high 24 points off the bench. Nate Robinson, who started at point guard for Rose and Hinrich (both out with injuries), had 19 points and nine assists.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: ESPN Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Doris Burke (analyst)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
Good seats are still available for the Pacers-Bulls matchup. Find Tickets »