Indiana Pacers (51-19) at Chicago Bulls (39-31)
Location: United Center — Chicago, Illinois
Tip: 8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT
Television: Fox Sports Indiana
Line: Chicago -1.5
Another game, and another interesting one, at that. The Indiana Pacers face the Chicago Bulls for the second time in four days and for the last time in the regular season.
By the end of Monday, the two Central Division foes will have met four times this season. Indiana currently holds the series advantage 2-1, as the Bulls look to knot things up in front of their home crowd. On Friday, the Pacers took care of business in Indy with a 91-79 victory.
The win on Friday seemed to give the team more confidence and a chance to regain some of their mojo. Players and coaches noted a ‘suffocating’ defensive performance proved to be the difference as Chicago’s shooting percentage rested in the mid-30s for the game.
Indiana hopes to do the same tonight.
However, after a devastatingly bad offensive showing the following night in Memphis, who can tell which Pacers team will show up in the Interstate-65 showdown.
The Grizzlies did not put on a clinic against Indiana Saturday night in the second night of a back-to-back for both teams at the FedEx Forum. Memphis defeated Indy 82-71, proving it was the Pacers that failed to score points in a season-low offensive tally.
That leads me to believe the blue and gold should come out firing on the offensive end tonight. Look for the backcourt guys to feed the ball into Roy Hibbert and David West early, as they did Friday against the same Bulls team.
Hibbert seems to enjoy the challenge of facing Chicago big man and fellow All-Star Joakim Noah, making it likely a key point in head coach Frank Vogel’s game plan. West is due for one of his get-mad, score-points explosions. He is very capable of dominating Chicago’s Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. Expect a double-double from him in the Windy City.
Prediction: As I mentioned Saturday preceding the Memphis game, the Indiana Pacers still have a ways to go in terms of consistency and playing dominant, winning basketball. Until that happens, the road only gets tougher. Chicago wins the battle tonight in an edge-of-your seat contest, 95-94.
Tags: Indiana Pacers