USA TODAY Sports
The Pacers have a chance to build on their Central Division lead when they host the Bulls on Sunday night.
The Pacers are 2-0 against the Bulls so far this season and enjoy a three game Central Division lead over their rivals from up I-65. But it appears the Bulls are in full scrap mode which always makes them dangerous despite the fact that they continue playing without Derrick Rose and will also miss Taj Gibson and Rip Hamilton on Sunday night.
King of the Bulls (and NBA for that matter) scrappers is Joakim Noah who arrives at the Fieldhouse on a tear. On Saturday night, Noah helped the Bulls roll past Brooklyn (hat tip for that W) with 21 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and a couple of steals. On Thursday, Noah was simply ridiculous, posting a triple-double against the Sixers with 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocks.
Noah is certainly putting in the time to get those numbers tho. The game tonight will be Chicago's fourth game since Tuesday and Noah has played over 40 minutes in the prior three games. Forward Luol Deng played 44 minutes last night and was 17 seconds shy against Philly of going over 40 minutes in all three games, as well.
At some point, that wear and tear may show up and harm the Bulls but I'd expect nothing but the normal energy and effort from the Bulls' stars tonight. The Pacers have to match their energy and desperation with a great opportunity to stifle the Bulls' momentum and keep them chasing in the standings.
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