The Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls clash for the first time in the regular season with both sides relatively healthy for the first time, well, I can't remember when. Certainly wasn't last year with Derrick Rose missing the season.
The Pacers hope to have point guard George Hill back and of course, the Pacers remain without Danny Granger, but if Hill can play he will at least be rested since his teammates had to extend a full 48-minute effort on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons. The mission at hand should be enough for the Pacers to rise above any fatigue, real or imagined. The Pacers are focused on winning the top seed in the East so winning head-to-head matchups against other top teams like the Bulls at home is a must, regardless of the circumstances.
The Bulls beat the Pacers twice in the preseason but have struggled since the regular season tipped off. Derrick Rose is still working his way into playing heavy regular season minutes at a high level. Joakim Noah missed the bulk of preseason and hasn't been sharp, as well. After starting 1-2, then having three days off to work through their early issues, the Bulls will certainly give the Pacers their full attention.
The only question remaining is: Will Rose wear neck tape or not? The NBA initially wanted Rose to stop wearing the two strips of Kinesio tap on the back of his neck but reversed course and will now allow. Sounds like good news. Whatever Rose has been doing in the first three games of the season should favor the Pacers tonight.
UPDATE: George Hill is out and C.J. Watson will start in his place for the third consecutive game. Vogel continues to say he's close but...not close enough.
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