Pacers travel to Chicago to face local rival Bulls


The Indiana Pacers are back after two days rest when they head up to the United Center to take on the Chicago Bulls in this central division clash.

WHO: Indiana Pacers (6-4) @ Chicago Bulls (6-3)
WHEN: Tonight, 8 pm ET / 7 pm CT
WHERE: United Center (Chicago, IL)

TV: Fox Sports Indiana
RADIO: 1070 the Fan
STREAM: FSGO and on the FSGO app

The Pacers
With a win tonight, Indiana could move into second place in the Central Divison behind the Cleveland Cavaliers (8-2), but more importantly, a win could give the Pacers with a sense of justification that they deserve to be mentioned when discussing the Eastern Conference’s top teams.

True, it’s the East, and a lot of teams are weak. Also true, we are just ten games into the season with 72 to go, meaning that early predictions are just that – early – but Indiana has risen from their 0-3 start to one of the hottest teams in the league, thanks in large part to, you guessed it, Paul George.

George has been fantastic in recent games and is averaging 24/8/4 through the early stretch despite a couple of rough nights shooting. Together with George Hill, the G2 zone has kept the pace for Indiana’s favorite team as they look to stay on the up and up.

UPDATE: George Hill has been ruled out of tonight’s game with an Upper Respiratory Infection. So, there’s that.

The Bulls
Chicago is interesting at the moment. New head coach Fred Hoiberg has the Bulls at 6-3, but they are a much different team from last year. Derrick Rose is healthy (for now), and Jimmy Butler continues to lead the way as the best player on a talented squad, but with a new coach and new systems certain players have fallen into a smaller role, most notably Joakim Noah.

Butler and Pau Gasol are the top scorers and stay the biggest test for Indy tonight, but George Hill will have his hands full with a shifty D-Rose. Hill has been excellent this year, keeping up with his (near) All-Star season last year, but Derrick Rose is no cakewalk in terms of point guard matchups even at 80%. Now near 100%, Rose remains a lethal weapon that can be quiet at times.

Next: Butler shatters records in trouncing of Citadel

It’s still very early, but a win tonight would be another momentum boost and send the Pacers to 7-1 in their last 8 and 7-3 overall. The Pacers are on the rise thanks to Paul George and his cast, but injuries to Rodney Stuckey and Myles Turner may halt progress if only for a moment. For tonight, though, it’s about the George-Butler head-to-head that has produced some excellent games in the past.

Tipoff tonight is set for 8 pm ET.