Tonight the Bulls and Pacer will face off in an actual meaningful game. This game will feature some of the most physical basketball you’ll see around the NBA. Defense will be played as if lives depended on it. The impressive front courts of both Central Division teams will kill for rebounds. And with the sudden emergence of Paul George, star power will be in full affect when Rose and the Bulls hit the court in Indy. There will be no love lost at Bankers Life Field House tonight.
It’s no secret in the past, Bankers Life Field House, has been a second home to the Chicago Bulls. But this year is different. The defending Central Division Champion Pacers are 4-0. And their stars, George and Hill, have voiced their opinions of too much black and red in the crowd. Expect this crowd to be pro Pacers.
Unlike the Pacers, the Bulls have struggled this early 2013’14 NBA season to a 1-2 record. This after an 8-0 preseason including two hard fought victories over the Pacers in which both coaches had their starters in down the stretch.
Bulls are shooting an unheard of 23 percent from behind the arc. No, not a typo, they’re really shooting 23 percent. Shall I continue? Ok, their field goal percentage is 42.9 and to add insult to injury they’re turning the ball over almost 19 times per game. Horrible start for an assumed title contender.
And Rose hasn’t helped the early woes the Bulls are going through, he’s contributed towards them. After shooting damn near 50 percent in preseason Rose has struggled here early to say the least. If I, for one, hadn’t witness his phenomenal play in the preseason, I’d make the conclusion he’s not the same player as pre acl torn Derrick Rose.
But I believe Rose’s troubles are simply rust and adjusting to the speed of the regular season, I hope. It wouldn’t hurt if he’d get a damn call also! He’s averaging a little over 3 free throw attempts as opposed to over 8 in the preseason.
Despite the bad news for Bulls fans I just listed, on Bulls Zone podcast, I predicted a win. I think the long break the Bulls had provided coach Thibs with some more than needed teaching moments. And I’m sure he had their full attention. After all, he demands it.
Keys to the game:
- Pacers will run screen roll with West while being defended by Boozer. This has always been successful because of West ability to shoot and put the ball on the floor. Bulls have to limit this and it will take a team effort.
- Hibbert has proven to be a beast in the paint. With 7 blocks last night, Rose and the crew have to attack and get the talented big man in foul trouble.
- Out rebound and keep the damn turnovers down!
- Hit shots, it’s that simple.
Will is co-host of BullsZone, a weekly Bulls Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BullsZoneWill