The Chicago Bulls (29-18) and Indiana Pacers (28-19) are two teams dawning a plethora of parallels. For one thing, they’ve been missing their marquee stars for the entire season. They’ve also made up for it by oscillating between the top spot in the NBA in defensive efficiency and mutual propensity to crash the boards. Not to mention, both teams are armed with two of the best coaches in the NBA. For simplicities sake though, the only similarity that matters today is that they’re both vying for the top spot in the Central Division. The Bulls are currently ahead by just one game, so expect a lot of energy from both sides tonight.
If you’ll think back by about a month a half, you’ll remember that Chicago and Indiana were supposed to face off on December 26th but mother nature, and inconvenient NBA scheduling delayed this match-up until now.
The last time these two clubs faced off Paul George scored a career-high 34 points to sizzle the Bulls in the fourth quarter. In tune with their shared offensive ineptitude and defensive efficiency, the final score was 80-76.
Carlos Boozer, who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, is optimistic that he will play tonight. With Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich likely sitting out in tonight’s affair, it’s going to take a mounted effort from Chicago to take revenge.
Luol Deng and Taj Gibson have been carrying a ridiculous load for the past few games. If Gibson can grind it out through one more 48-minute night and Deng can, well, continue with business as usual the Bulls may have a chance to pull out a victory.
Coming off a huge victory against the Hawks, the Bulls are now dawning the best road record in the league at 14-7. However, the Pacers are no joke either as they currently hold a 13-game winning streak at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana
Time: 6:00pm CST/7:00pm EST
Live Stream: NBA League Pass
Radio: WMVP-AM 1000
Injury Report/Inactives: Kirk Hinrich (OUT), Joakim Noah (UNLIKELY), Carlos Boozer (PROBABLE)
Key to the game: Can the new and improved Jimmy Butler slow down Pacers All-Star Paul George?
|Streak||Avg. Pts Scored||Avg. Pts Allowed||Last 5 Games|
Prediction: Pacers 87, Bulls 83