When we last saw the Bulls, it appeared their season was a lost cause forcing the team to tank whether they wanted to or not. The Pacers then had to fight like crazy to beat the Bulls at the Fieldhouse thanks to a little Victor Oladipo magic. The loss didn't discourage the Bulls though as they went on to win their next seven games and nine of their last 11.
The return of Nikola Mirotic and the odd coupling with Bobby Portis off the bench has fortified Chicago's rotation and turned the Bulls into a tough out every night.
That's not good news for the Pacers who have struggled in their last two games and will play on Friday without Oladipo (sore right knee) for the second consecutive game. The injury situation keeps Lance Stephenson in the starting lineup for the Pacers and will thin the Pacers reserve unit against their Bulls' counterparts.
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Pacers (19-16) at Bulls (12-22) - 8:00 PM EDT at United Center
TV: FOX Sports Indiana
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan
Projected starting lineups
Pacers: Darren Collison (PG), Lance Stephenson (SG), Bojan Bogdanovic (SF), Thaddeus Young (PF), Myles Turner (C)
Bulls: Kris Dunn (PG), Justin Holiday (SG) Denzel Valentine (SF), Lauri Markkanen (PF), Robin Lopez (C)