Game 30: Chicago Bulls (17-12) versus Indiana Pacers (18-12)
Location: United Center – Chicago
Time: 7:00 p.m. central
TV: WGN Chicago, Fox Sports Indiana
The Bulls look to extend their winning streak to two games with Wednesday night’s matchup against the Pacers. This will be the third time these two teams face off, and each team has grabbed a win over the other so far this regular season.
Matchup of the Game
Jimmy Butler versus Paul George
Butler is coming off, what is arguably, his worst game of the season so far. In Monday night’s win, he played his normal 30-plus minutes, but only managed to score five points, going 2-of-7 from the field. Butler did, however, contribute four rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks, so it’d be wrong to say he was a non-factor. His performance was an acceptable one Monday night considering how much the bench stepped up, but Butler must do better Wednesday night with George being his primary opponent.
George is in a similar area, as he, too, is coming off his worst performance of the season. In the Pacers’ win over the Hawks Monday night, George played 30-plus minutes, but really struggled with his shot. He scored nine points on 3-for-14 from the field. Like Butler, George made up a bit for his lack of scoring with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Neither player performed as well as they normally do, so it will be interesting to see how they follow up such uncharacteristic games.
Dec. 28: Bulls defeat Toronto Raptors, 104-97
The Bulls’ bench accounted for 51 of their 104 points led by Tony Snell‘s 22 points in 27 minutes.
In the second quarter, Aaron Brooks and Bobby Portis combined for 19 of the Bulls’ 26 points, ending halftime in the Raptors’ favor, 52-49. The starters fared well in the third quarter, but couldn’t get the lead. Snell took care of that in the final period, though; he scored 14 of the Bulls’ 26 fourth-quarter points to turn the game around and solidify the win.
Dec. 28: Pacers defeat Atlanta Hawks, 93-87
The Hawks got out to a good start, winning the first quarter 27-21. The Pacers came back strong in the second quarter, though, holding the Hawks to 13 points while scoring 31 points of their own. The Hawks didn’t score until the 8:53 mark of the second period, breaking the tie the Pacers just managed.
In the third quarter, the Hawks got off to a quick start. They opened the half with a 9-2 run that propelled them to outscoring the Pacers 28-22; however, it wasn’t enough for them to turn the game around. Down 74-68 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Hawks would match the Pacers’ 19 points for the entire period and, ultimately, come up short of a victory.
Last Time They Met
Nov. 27: Bulls fall to Pacers, 104-92
The Bulls started the game poorly being outscored by the Pacers 30-18 in the first quarter. In fact, with such a solid start for Indiana, the Pacers never trailed in the game.
The Bulls responded well in the second quarter, outscoring the Pacers 24-21, but they were still down 51-42 at halftime. They made a 7-0 run in the third quarter — all of which came off free throws — to bring the deficit down to four points, but the Bulls couldn’t hold on and continue to get the necessary defensive stops to turn the game around.
It also didn’t help that Paul George had a big night, scoring 33 points to lead all players. The Bulls also gave up 20 points off turnovers that night.
Mike Dunleavy (back) and Joakim Noah (shoulder) remain out with their respective injuries. Per the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson, head coach Fred Hoiberg said Doug McDermott is a gametime decision for Wednesday night’s game.
Bulls PR said McDermott has a strained right knee, not a sprain. Considered day-to-day for now.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 29, 2015
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.