The Pacers (14-21) close out 2021 at the Fieldhouse when they host the Bulls (22-10) in the annual NYE afternoon game.
The two teams plays five days ago but thanks to this season of COVID variables around every corner, both teams won’t look the same. The Pacers remain without Malcolm Brogdon, whose Achilles may still be an issue, but COVID protocols will keep him sidelined for this one along with Jeremy Lamb, Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson.
The testing issues makes Kelan Martin, a player who had to wait until very late in the offseason to secure a spot on the roster, the most logical additional starter with Duarte out.
The Bulls are different than they were on Sunday, as well with Lonzo Ball joining Alex Caruso and a few others on the COVID protocol list. Unfortunately, the Bulls still have Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan in a lineup that leads the league in capital letters. Both wings can get buckets and are the type of player that has burned the Pacers of late. Holding both under 30 points would be a good thing.
The two teams have split the prior two meetings, both at the United Center. The Pacers have just three road wins, but two of the three were high quality wins which includes beating the Bulls at the UC. Of course, with all of the roster shuffling for injuries and COVID that seems like a lifetime ago.
DraftKings Odds: Bulls -3, O/U 221.5
When: 3:00 p.m. ET
When: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
TV: Ballys Sports Indiana
Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Caris LeVert, Justin Holiday, Kelan Martin, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner
Bulls: Coby White, Zach LaVine, Javonte Green, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic
IND: Malcolm Brogdon - out (health and safety protocols), Chris Duarte - out (health and safety protocols), Isaiah Jackson - out (health and safety protocols), Jeremy Lamb - out (health and safety protocols), T.J. McConnell - out (sore right wrist), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
CHI: Lonzo Ball - out (health and safety protocols), Tony Bradley - out (health and safety protocols), Alex Caruso - out (left midfoot sprain), Ersan Ilyasova - out (health and safety protocols), Alfonzo McKinnie - out (health and safety protocols), Marko Simonovic - out (health and safety protocols), Patrick Williams - out (left wrist ligament tear)
Please leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.