Chicago Bulls (12-5) vs. Indiana Pacers (7-11)
The Chicago Bulls strength of schedule finally begins to soften.
For the last three or so weeks, the Chicago Bulls have gone toe-to-toe with some of the best teams the National Basketball Association has to offer. Outside of a clunker against the Golden State Warriors, the Bulls proved they can play with just about anybody in the NBA, posting a very respectable 3-2 record on a West Coast road trip that they have traditionally struggled on each and every year.
The Bulls capped off this difficult stretch of schedule by avenging an earlier loss against Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Tom Thibodeau, and the New York Knicks.
The Bulls just went through a hellish schedule of 12 straight .500 teams:— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 22, 2021
They went 8-4 and are now first in the East. pic.twitter.com/EwxDCl91E0
As the schedule switches from the elite to the mediocre/the very bad, the question becomes can the Bulls beat the teams they are supposed to beat? Playing down to the competition has been a problem for these Bulls in previous seasons and their next three matchups (against the Pacers, Houston Rockets, and Orlando Magic) are all against teams they are better than on paper.
The next team on the schedule is the Indiana Pacers who have started the season 7-11. They aren’t a very good basketball team this year. Malcolm Brogdon, the former Rookie of the Year, is actually leading this team in scoring at over 20 points per game. The more familiar Domantas Sabonis is the team’s best player as he continues to be a ridiculously efficient scorer from the field. Myles Turner is a good player and it theoretically could be difficult stopping a player like that with the small-ball lineups that the Bulls have been forced into playing.
Outside of those three guys, there really isn’t anybody particularly scary in this lineup. This is a game that the Bulls should win, but after the emotional game against the New York Knicks 24 hours ago it also has trap game written all over it.
Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle recently benched all his starters so maybe that’s the wake up call that this Pacers team needs.
No change for the Bulls, outside of an addition with Alex Caruso being questionable with a wrist injury. He’s played through it the past couple games.
The Pacers have maybe their cleanest injury report of the season, just TJ Warren is out as he has been all season.
Game Time: NBC Sports Chicago; 7:00 CDT