From the comfort of their couch on Christmas Day evening, the Indiana Pacers took over the top spot in the Central Division. The Chicago Bulls gave up first place along with 120 points in their loss to the Houston Rockets at the United Center on Tuesday.
That all sounds like good news until you realize the Pacers are scheduled to play the Bulls on Wednesday night, the night after the Bulls, trailing close behind the Pacers as one of the top defensive teams in the NBA, gave up 120 points. Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau will certainly have his team focused on the defensive end against the Pacers which will pit two of the best defenses in the league against two of the least productive offenses.
Since the Pacers have been off for three days and the Bulls were so off the mark on Tuesday, both teams will be motivated to tip off the game tonight but that may be a challenge with the blizzard blowing through Central Indiana. No doubt the Bulls beat the weather to town following their game last night, so actually playing the game shouldn't be an issue, but all of the non-playing parts of the NBA show that make it happen at the Fieldhouse still have to get downtown so that leaves it up to the Pacers to make the call on playing the game.
Assuming the game is played, the Bulls may be without Luol Deng who tweaked an ankle last night against the Rockets. As for the Pacers, Gerald Green should be available off the bench again and according to Mike Wells, D.J. Augustin will be back as the primary backup PG instead of Ben Hansbrough. A little shoulder injury and some poor play in the past two games by Hansbrough opened the opportunity for Augustin. According to reports, Augustin has been putting up Jonathan Bender-like practice efforts and that is the main reason for his return to the playing rotation.
Check out the links:
- Game Preview: Pacers vs Bulls | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS
- Indiana Pacers have tough opponents, many home games coming up | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Bad turns to worse for reeling Bulls - Chicago Bulls Blog - ESPN Chicago
- Bulls vs. Rockets final score: Rockets put up 120 points in Christmas day obliteration - Blog a Bull
- Tom Thibodeau takes blame for Bulls' poor play - CSNChicago.com
- Deng hurts ankle in loss to Rockets - CSNChicago.com
- Bulls-Pacers Preview - AP
- Chicago Bulls: Rockets hand Bulls 120-97 Christmas beating - chicagotribune.com
- Luol Deng sprains ankle in Chicago Bulls loss, questionable for Wednesday's game - ESPN Chicago
- Derrick Rose return: Ric Bucher goes (bizarrely) full-blast on Bulls Org., Rose "not coming back any time soon" - Blog a Bull
- Surging Pacers look to claim top spot in Central Division from Bulls - NBA Philippines
- A trying 2012 makes holiday hoops all the more important | NBA.com
Eric Gordon nears return with New Orleans Hornets | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com