On November 5th the Indiana Pacers came out of the locker room at halftime trailing by eight to the Chicago Bulls. Despite inefficient sub-32 percent shooting from Paul George and Lance Stephenson, the Pacers – who defeated the Pistons on the road in Detroit less than 24 hours earlier – outscored the Bulls by 23 points in the second half and kept an undefeated record intact despite feeling the fatigue from the night before. Indiana had five players with double-digit point totals and outscored Chicago 60-37.
The Bulls return home after defeating the Toronto Raptors, 96-80, and on Saturday, welcome in the Pacers, who spent last night coasting to a to a 27 point, 104-77 rout over the Milwaukee Bucks
Derrick Rose is averaging 15 points and 5 assists in six games since his return from, well, you know — not playing last season. He, like George and Stephenson, was also inefficient in the first meeting between these teams — scoring 17 points after hitting only one of five from three-point range and six of fifteen from the field overall. 11 days has passed since the teams met at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the Bulls may have to remember how to play without their former MVP on Saturday; Rose is listed as day-by-day. Prior to last night’s victory over the Raptors, the Bulls’ franchise point guard was back to answering questions about when he expects to return.
For me, I didn’t go out there and shoot yet,” Rose said. “[I'll] go out there and see how it feels, and if it feels good enough to play, I’m going to play.
They’re still leaving it up to me to go out there,” Rose said. “See how [it] goes, and if it’s any tightness or soreness there’s no point to go out there and play. But if I go out there and it loosens up, I think I’ll be playing.
The Pacers easily outpaced the Bucks with smothering, hard-nosed defending last night, and own the league’s best defensive rating of 91.3. George has fully emerged as a superstar type player capable of winning league MVP, as has Roy Hibbert, who’s made it clear that he’s the first one with the Defensive Player of the Year award on his mind this year. With veterans David West, Louis Scola and Stevenson alongside him, the Pacers are poised to make a postseason run. And the Finals are the destination.
— Roy Hibbert (@Hoya2aPacer) November 7, 2013
Whether or not Rose is able to play will be the key in tonight’s meeting between these Central Division foes. No team has been able to inflict a defeat on Indy this year, if Rose isn’t able to go for the Bulls, the Pacers will likely live without a loss for another day. The added responsibility will be on Chicago’s back up point guard, Kirk Hinrich, if Rose is unable to go. Hinrich had this to say after scoring 12 points on 4 assists in last night’s victory in Toronto.
“It’ll be a great test, they’re playing as good as anybody in the league right now.”
National TV: None
Local TV: FSMW (Pacers) | WGN (Bulls) | League Pass
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET