Friday Night NBA Action: Pacers @ Bulls

The Indiana Pacers visit the United Center in Chicago, IL, where they will take on the Chicago Bulls.  In years past, this would be a tightly contested divisional matchup between two teams with lockdown defenses and knockdown outside shooters.  However, this rivalry has mellowed out as of late, without franchise players such as Derrick Rose and Paul George who used to battle it out for these squads.  The Pacers are 5-3 on the season, good enough for second place in the Western Conference Central division.  The Bulls, despite signing Jabari Parker during the offseason, have gotten off to a forgettable 2-6 start.

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Indiana’s last game was a 107-101 win against the Knicks on Halloween.  Thaddeus Young had a huge game, recording a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.  To go with those stats, he had 5 steals and 3 blocks. Domantas Sabonis had a big surprise performance off of the bench, going 12 for 12 from the field and was 6-7 from the free throw line en route to 30 points to go with his 9 rebounds.

Chicago’s last game was also on Halloween, but was a 1 point overtime loss against the Nuggets.  Zach LaVine continued his impressive scoring, dropping another 28 points to go with 7 assists and 5 rebounds.  Rookie center Wendell Carter Jr. had 25 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, and 3 steals.  Carter symbolized the hope for Chicago’s future but wasn’t able to do enough to will them to a win.  The Indiana Pacers are -7 in this game.

Similar Stats to Start Season

The team stats from these two squads are extremely similar.  The Bulls are ranked 19th in the league in points scored, averaging 110 per game.  The Pacers are averaging 109. These similar scoring stats point to a game that will likely be decided by defense.  Rebounding numbers are no different, as the Bulls average 41.5 (Including 8 on the offensive side) rebounds per game.  Indiana averages 40.4 rebounds. Ball movement is similar between the teams as well, as the Bulls average 24 assists per game.  The Pacers average 23.4.

Head to Head Matchups are Strong

Zach LaVine leads the Bulls in scoring, averaging 28.1 points per game.  Victor Oladipo leads the Pacers with 22.0 points per game.  Domantas Sabonis and Wendell Carter Jr. will be battling it out in the paint, with both of them putting up big numbers of late, as mentioned earlier.  Their battle may be what decides this game.

Pacers Top Bulls

While the Bulls have young, exciting talent, they have a depleted roster with Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen both hurt.  They may be a team that makes a run late, but they just don’t have the firepower healthy now.  The Pacers should win this one, barring a 40+ point performance from LaVine. Bet on the Indiana Pacers at -7.

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