Pacers at Bulls

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Pacers on Oladipo's Imminent Return, Taming the Bulls

Jan. 5, 2018 - Victor Oladipo, Thaddeus Young, and Nate McMillan discuss Oladipo's return to practice after missing four games with a sore right knee and the keys to Saturday's matchup with Chicago.

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Pacers on Oladipo's Imminent Return, Taming the Bulls

Jan. 5, 2018 - Victor Oladipo, Thaddeus Young, and Nate McMillan discuss Oladipo's return to practice after missing four games with a sore right knee and the keys to Saturday's matchup with Chicago.
Jan 5, 2018  |  02:34

Oladipo Hopeful For Return to Court

January 4, 2018 - Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (sore right knee) talked about participating in practice and his hope to play on Saturday night. Nate McMillan spoke about how the team has played in Oladipo's absence and what he expects should Oladipo return to the court.
Jan 4, 2018  |  03:04

Game Preview: Pacers vs Bulls

Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Last Updated: Jan. 5 at 11:00 PM ET

Matchup

The Pacers return to Indianapolis mired in a five-game losing streak, but the combination of the schedule and the possible return of leading scorer Victor Oladipo should provide Pacers fans some hope that the team can soon right the ship.

Indiana (19-19) tips off a four-game homestand — its longest remaining homestand of the season — by hosting the Chicago Bulls (14-25) on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Oladipo, 10th in the NBA in scoring as of Thursday morning at 24.9 points per game, has now missed the last four contests with soreness in his right knee. But the hope is that the 6-4 guard can return to practice over the next two days and potentially be back in the lineup on Saturday against Chicago.

Oladipo's return should provide a spark to a floundering Pacers offense. The Blue & Gold have averaged just 100.6 points per 100 possessions over their past four contests, the fourth-worst offensive rating in the league over that span.

One bright spot, however, in Wednesday's 122-101 loss in Milwaukee was second-year forward Domantas Sabonis. The 21-year-old scored a career-best 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting against the Bucks, dominating his matchups on the interior. The Pacers need a consistent post presence from either Sabonis or starting center Myles Turner to balance out an attack that relies heavily on jump shooters, so Sabonis' performance in Milwaukee was definitely encouraging.

The Bulls had been the hottest team in the NBA as a recently as last week. Their victory over the Pacers in Chicago on Dec. 29 was their 10th in 12 games, but they dropped three straight games since before winning in Dallas on Friday night.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Darren Collison, SG - Lance Stephenson, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Myles Turner
Bulls: PG - Kris Dunn, SG - Justin Holiday, SF - Denzel Valentine, PF - Lauri Markkanen, C - Robin Lopez

Injury Report

Pacers: Victor Oladipo - questionable (sore right knee), Bojan Bogdanovic - questionable (sprained left ankle), Glenn Robinson III - out (left ankle surgery rehabilitation), Edmond Sumner - out (left knee surgery rehabilitation)

Bucks: Zach LaVine - out (left ACL), Cameron Payne - out (right foot)

Coors Cold Hard Fact

In the 1995-96 season, the Pacers were the only team to defeat the then record-setting 72-10 Bulls team more than once in the regular season. They beat them 103-96 on Dec. 26, 1995 and handed the Bulls their 10th loss with a 100-99 win on April 20, 1996.

Last Meeting

December 29, 2017: Lauri Markkanen and Nikola Mirotić combined for 60 points as the Bulls rolled to a 119-107 win over the Pacers in Chicago. The Bulls made 18 3-pointers in the victory, matching the most ever by a Pacers opponent in a single game.

Markkanen set a new career high with 32 points, while Mirotić added 28 while going 8-for-15 from 3-point range.

"You've got to get up on the guys," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the game. "We knew that this team improving over the last few weeks...they've been shooting the three extremely well. We just did not challenge their threes."

Darren Collison led Indiana with 30 points, going 12-for-15 from the field and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc and dished out six assists in the loss. Lance Stephenson — starting in Victor Oladipo's place at shooting guard — added 18 points and nine rebounds.

Noteworthy

  • The Bulls have a 97-86 lead in the all-time series with Indiana, but the Pacers are 61-31 at home against Chicago.
  • With a win on Saturday, the Pacers would win the regular season series against the Bulls for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign.
  • The Pacers have won three straight and nine of their last 11 regular season home games against Chicago.
  • Pacers forward Thaddeus Young and injured Bulls guard Zach LaVine were teammates in Minnesota during the 2014-15 season.

Tickets

The Pacers square off against Lauri Markkanen and the Chicago Bulls for the fourth and final time this regular season on Saturday, January 6 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.

Pacers Team Store Game Night Special

Pacers Crew Fleece - $30. The Game Night Special can be purchased at the Pacers Team Store on game day, as well as online from 10:00 AM-Midnight. Order Online »