Pacers-Bulls Preview

Indiana Pacers Status Check:
Record: 43-26
Division: 12-2
Conference: 29-15
Road Record: 15-18
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Streak: Won 3
Last game: 102-78 win over Milwaukee
PPG: 94.4 (21st)
Opponents PPG: 89.8 (2nd)
Offensive Rating: 103.9 (20th)
Defensive Rating: 98.8 (1st)
Pace: 90.0 (26th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .477 (23rd)
Turnover Percentage: .142 (25th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .749 (3rd)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .303 (4th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .211 (11th)
Opp. eFG%: .448 (1st)
Opp. TO%: .129 (25th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .198 (9th)
Leading scorer: Paul George (17.6)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Indiana Injury Report:
Danny Granger: missed Friday’s game (sore knee)
David West: missed Friday’s game (sprained lower back)

The rollercoaster that is the 2012-2013 Chicago Bulls season took another dip on Thursday night when the Bulls slept through the second quarter and lost by double digits to the Trail Blazers. It’s the point on the ride when you feel like you’re going to throw up, but then remember you threw up on that last dip (the loss to Charlotte, probably). Chicago has a tougher opponent tonight in Indiana, the second place team in the East. They do luck out a little bit though, as the Pacers will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Bulls will try to avoid a sweep from their division rivals at home tonight, having dropped the first three games in the series by four, ten and five points.

Who knows which Chicago Bulls will show up tonight, which is really what the game boils down to. Will it be the team that got blown out by the Kings and zombie-walked throught Thursday’s second quarter? Or will it be the squad that dominated Golden State and stuck right with Denver?

To say most of the Bulls were awful against the Blazers would be an understatement. It would have been better if many of them hadn’t been on the court. Kirk Hinrich, in his long awaited return from a somewhat phantom injury, scored two points on 1-7 shooting to go with two turnovers and three assists. Production from your starting point guard!

But it didn’t end there. Nate Robinson finished 4-12 from the field, but at least he had nine assists. Production from your back-up point guard! Luol Deng couldn’t find the hole, going 2-7. Same with Marco Belinelli, who shot 3-10.

Joakim Noah (7-10), Carlos Boozer (8-18), Taj Gibson (7-14) and Jimmy Butler (4-7) played well. But it wasn’t close to enough to overcome that awful guard play.

It was an ugly game, but Tom Thibodeau did something crazy…he played Noah and Deng less than 30 minutes each. Lu played 26 minutes, while Joakim logged 27. I don’t know why Thibs chose this game to rest his guys, considering it wasn’t a back-to-back scenario, and the Bulls actually had a solid amount of rest on each side of the contest. Whatever his reason, I’m not complaining, because I’ve been all over Thibs for his minute allocation this season.

Rest is never a bad thing really in my opinion, and both guys will probably log huge minutes in each game of this upcoming back-to-back.

The Bulls have been getting beaten on the glass so far this season against the Pacers, bringing down just 38.3 boards per game against Indiana, compared to 43.2 rebounds per contest on the season. Noah did miss one game against the Pacers, in which the Bulls 47-35.

The other reason the Bulls are 0-3 against Indiana is foul shots. Chicago has shot 20.0 free throws per game against Indy, a little under their average of 21.3. The Pacers, on the other hand, have shot nearly 31.3 free throws in the three contests against Chicago, almost ten more than their season average (22.7). In games that have been decided by ten or fewer points, those extra foul shots can be the difference between a win and a loss.

The problem for the Bulls, is that they don’t have anyone to really drive and make contact. Boozer fades as far away from contact as possible, and everyone else struggles to create their own shot. Jimmy Butler seems like the only guy on the team that isn’t afraid to drive and take some contact.

The Bulls will luck out as David West is expected to miss the game. West scored 31 points and 29 points in the last two match-ups, after finishing with just ten in the first contest.

Tyler Hansbrough, filling in for West, scored 22 points (8-14) and brought down 12 boards against the Bucks as the Pacers cruised to victory. Paul George scored 20 points, Roy Hibbert posted eleven points, eight rebounds and seven blocks, while the Bucks made just 31 of their 101 field goals (30.7 percent). Milwaukee brought down 22 offensive rebounds, but just could not get the ball to fall.

Indiana is third in the league in defensive rebounding percentage (.749) and will focus on controlling the defensive glass for tonight’s game.

Indiana is 11-6 when playing on no rest, good for second best win percentage in the league trailing only Miami (12-1).

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