Pacers, Bulls ready to tangle in Central showdown
(Sports Network) – Two Central Division rivals face one another for the first
time this season tonight in Chicago, where the Bulls entertain the Indiana
Pacers at the United Center.
Indiana currently sits atop the division in the early going, having won four
of its first six games to begin the season. The Pacers won for the third time
in four outings on Friday, as Al Harrington amassed 32 points and eight
rebounds to lead Indiana to a 103-93 decision over Orlando at Conseco
Jermaine O’Neal, who missed Wednesday’s game at Washington with a sore left
ankle, returned to the Pacers’ lineup but was limited to nine points, although
he did have 11 rebounds.
Danny Granger scored 18 for Indiana, which beat the Magic for a fourth
straight time. Harrington finished 13-of-23 from the field.
Chicago’s 2006-07 campaign started off with a bang, as the Bulls walloped
defending world champion Miami on the road back on October 31. The team has
lost three of four since, most recently Thursday’s 113-94 setback at
Kirk Hinrich scored 20 points and dished out 11 assists for the Bulls, who
have now dropped six straight and 11 of their last 13 trips to Cleveland.
Andres Nocioni scored 15 points off the bench, while P.J. Brown and Luol Deng
each had 11.
Ben Gordon had a rough game for Chicago, going just 1-for-10 from the field
for two points.
Following tonight’s contest, the Bulls will embark on a seven-game road trip
which begins Tuesday in Dallas.
The Pacers and Bulls split four regular-season meetings in 2005-06, but
Indiana is 18-7 over its last 25 games against Chicago.
The home team has won 13 of the last 16 games played during this series,
including eight of the 10 most recent matchups.