(Sports Network) - The Indiana Pacers ride a three-game winning streak into
Wednesday night's crucial Central Division matchup at home against the Chicago
The Pacers have won six of the last seven and moved a half game ahead of the
Bulls in the standings in the Central Division. These two teams were picked to
finish high in the race for the Division title, but both teams have had to
deal with injuries to their best players.
The Pacers have been without Danny Granger, while the Bulls have missed former
MVP, Derrick Rose.
The Pacers recent win streak has come with two straight on the road. On
Saturday, the Pacers bested the New Orleans Hornets, 81-75, thanks to a 52-29
score in the second half. Indiana trailed by as many as 17 in the first half,
but the No. 3 ranked defense kicked in and the Pacers prevailed.
"We just came in and said that teams lose 17-point leads in the first half of
games all the time," said head coach Frank Vogel. "It happens every week in
the NBA, and it usually happens when the better team record wise is the team
that is down."
The Pacers play their next two at home and eight of their next 10 in Bankers
The Bulls experience a decidedly un-Merry Christmas when they got blown out at
home against the Houston Rockets. Chicago fell 17 down at the half and lost
going away, 120-97.
"They scored the ball easily," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Transition,
open shots. We did not control the ball. We did not get back. We did not make
multiple efforts and had low energy on offense. We gave them everything. They
got in transition, they got into the paint, they got open looks at threes.
Give them credit. They played well right from the start. We created a lot of
our own. They completely outplayed us."
The Bulls, normally one of the best defensive teams in the league, allowed the
Rockets to shoot 56.1 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point
Nate Robinson led the way for the Bulls with 27 points off the bench. The
starters combined for 47 points in an all-around pathetic effort from the
Chicago has lost two in a row, but is 8-5 in December. After Wednesday
night's game, the Bulls play the next two at home.
The Pacers bested the Bulls, 80-76, in Chicago on Dec. 4. The Bulls are 8-4 in
their last 12 in this series.
The Sports Network