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2010-2011 Game Preview #68: Chicago Bulls @ Indiana Pacers

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Well, the Bulls are coming to Indy tonight, but I doubt I'll get downtown to see it. This should be an interesting matchup for a variety of reasons.

* With last night's victory over the gritty but hapless Nets (micro-recap: victory in these games probably shouldn't completely be overlooked; it was on the road, Derrick continues to pummel Deron Williams into oblivion, Omer Asik posted his first career double-double, and Keith Bogans reverted to the guy we all shake our head about) we're in the first seed in the East. If the playoffs started tomorrow, the currently 8th seed Pacers would be our opponent.

* Down the road, Basketball Reference projects the Pacers as the overwhelming favorites to be the 8th seed, but they're only 3-7 over their last ten, and might be on the ropes. My main observation is that the Pacers have really struggled since Mike Dunleavy broke his thumb a couple weeks ago. It's not that he's great, but he was playing all around good ball and of his replacements, Brandon Rush has been all around terrible and Paul George, while talented, is a rookie who makes mistakes.

* With Dunleavy, their lineups were cohesive and had quality, ready NBA players at every position, although none of them are really top-notch ones. They can probably be overwhelmed in any case, but without him they make mistakes and don't spread the floor as well.

* Individually, Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert are the main guys to be concerned about, but all three of them are guys who will continue to shoot against the odds and not come up with much. To be blunt, I like our chances in this one. Defensively, we're set up very well to contain all of these guys, and they're not set up all that well to stop our guys.

* For a more optimistic take on the Pacers, Indy Cornrows is the place to go. I see them playing hard since they're fighting for their playoff lives, but like the Celtics (who beat the Pacers night before last), the Bulls have a lot riding on this one too.