There hasn't been much to be excited about since the season started 3 weeks ago. One can tell things aren't all great when the most impressive stat line we've seen from our hometown hero and former MVP Derrick Rose is 16pts on 8-21 shooting, 7ast and 0 turnovers (the most important stat being ZERO Turnovers). On top of that, the offense as a whole has seemed stagnant at times and the Bulls have to work too hard to find a decent shot, and rotations on the defensive end have seemed slow and clunky. But the Bulls, playing punching bags in the forms of the Jazz, Cavaliers, and Raptors, have allowed themselves to gain back some confidence in knowing they can still prey on the lower tier of NBA teams. And they do look better than that team who showed up in Miami on opening night; progress, however slow, is being made.
Everywhere the Bulls have struggled, Indiana has excelled, sprinting out to a 9-0 start to the season. Paul George has cemented himself as a bonafide baller (in case anyone still had questions) averaging 24.6pts per game, and is looking to make that next leap to "Super-Star Status." His backcourt brother-in-arms, Roy Hibbert, leads the league in Blocks Per Game with 4.8, and amongst players who have averaged 29 minutes of game time, Hibbert leads the pack with a Defensive Rating of 81.4, the second closest player being none other than Paul George with a rating of 86.3.
The last time these two teams met, the Pacers ran the Bulls out of the gym, outscoring them 34-18 in the fourth quarter en route to a 97-80 win. Tonight, the Bulls hope their momentum of a three game winning streak will be enough to propel them over the first place Pacers, while the Pacers look to continue dominating the Bulls and the rest of the league. This game should be a good benchmark for where the Bulls currently stand, and how much more work needs to be done in order to become title contenders. Until then, it seems any road leading up to a championship runs through Indiana first.
Tip-off is at 7:00PM CT, WGN-TV/WGN-America and ESPN 1000AM
(This is my first ever game-preview. Pointers, advice, and comments are encouraged and well-appreciated!)