After a disastrous opening game of the regular season, the Chicago Bulls will be looking for a bounce-back effort. They were out of it from the start against the Atlanta Hawks and couldn’t make a defensive stop in the 124-104 loss. The Bulls made it close at the end but it the deficit was hovering near 30 for much of it.
That was one of the easier games on the first part of Chicago’s schedule, which makes this loss a bit more crushing. They do play the Wizards and Warriors soon but before that, they must play a playoff team in the Indiana Pacers. The Bulls didn’t beat an East playoff team the entirety of last season.
The Pacers are somewhat like the Bulls in that they have extremely little roster turnover, both them and the Bulls had 14 players from last season on this year’s roster. Though tarting from a much higher place, they are also relying on the effect of a new coach as Nate Bjorkgren took over from Nate McMillian.
They started their season with a 121-107 win against the New York Knicks. The Pacers were losing at halftime but outscored the Knicks by 19 in the second half. Domantas Sabonis was great with a double double of 32 points and 13 points. Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon chipped in with 22 and 21 respectively as it was a good first victory for new head coach.
After a dismal showing against the Hawks bigs, both Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. will have their hands full again guarding the Pacers duo of Sabonis and Myles Turner. The same can be said on the perimeter defense as Zach LaVine and Coby White were torched by Trae Young and now match up against Oladipo and Brogdon.
There is only one player out for Chicago, Thad Young with that lower leg infection. Garrett Temple, Tomas Satoransky, and Denzel Valentine were technically available in the opener but Billy Donovan held them out. It will be interesting to see if any of them get any action tonight.
Indiana will be without four players. Goga Bitadze is out with a right ankle sprain that he suffered earlier this week. Brian Bowen and Jeremy Lamb are out while recovering from a torn groin and ACL respectively. Edmond Summer is listed as not available due to illness.
Game Time: 7PM CT
Odds: The Pacers are five and half point favorites but you can find Pacers (-4.5) at some places (via the Action Network). You can find totals ranging from 222.5 to 223.5 depending on where you look.