The Pacers (1-3) are on the zag portion of their five game roadie as they play the Bulls (2-2) at the UC before heading back to the East Coast for the rest of the trip.
The Bulls present plenty of matchup problems for the Pacers with lethal scoring options in Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan who will be able to take advantage in any lapses the Pacers defense presents.
It was the Bulls last season who jump started the Pacers current shift toward a rebuild when a quality effort by the Pacers, which appeared to be a solid W earned late in the fourth quarter, turned into a stunning loss thanks to DeRozan on New Year’s Eve afternoon. The midrange maestro scored five points in the final 36 seconds including a wild, long three-pointer at the buzzer to stifle any early celebrating at the Fieldhouse.
Myles Turner, Oshae Brissett and Goga Bitadze (5 min) were the only current Pacers to play in that game 10 months ago. The Bulls have a similar roster and continue to be a team fighting for respect while also fighting for playoff position in the East. The addition of second year guard, Ayo Dosunmu to the lineup adds a solid all-around player to the mix who can help carry a heavier load on the defensive end.
On the injury front, Myles Turner is now listed as questionable and appears ready to make his debut according to his Instagram, so we will see if the big man makes his season debut to give the Pacers defense a much needed boost. Assistant coach Jenny Boucek also posted an Instagram story with #Gameface that had Myles in the background. So, yeah, let’s pencil the big fella into the starting lineup. That and some improved shooting compared to what we saw in Philly will be critical to giving the Pacers a chance to win down the stretch this time around.
DraftKings Odds: Bulls -7.5, O/U 234.5 (latest DraftKings odds here)
When: 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
TV: Bally Sports Indiana/Bally Sports + app
Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, Jalen Smith, Myles Turner
Bulls: Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, Nikola Vucevic
IND: Daniel Theis - out (sore right knee), Myles Turner - questionable (sprained left ankle)
CHI: Lonzo Ball - out (knee)
Please share your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.