CHICAGO, IL -- The Indiana Pacers will be back from their four-day break with a matchup with the Chicago Bulls. This game will be played on Tuesday night (October 20th) at the United Center. Tip-off for this game will be at 8:00 P.M. EST on NBA TV. Both teams have had contrasting performances so far in this year's preseason; the Bulls are 2-3, meanwhile, the Pacers are 4-1.
Since losing their preseason opener against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Indiana Pacers have won four consecutive games. A win against the Bulls would push the Pacers' winning streak to five consecutive wins. That would be exactly the kind of momentum that the team is seeking.
Indiana's preseason and training camp has been dedicated mainly to learning their new offense. Their offense is ideal for playing at a fast pace and spacing the floor. They have gone with both a new 4-out, 1-in look to start games, and have switched to a traditional 3-out, 2-in style at different points throughout the preseason. The offensive and defensive execution and efficiency will be a key focus in this game.
The Pacers have had great results from their new offensive style. Not only are they getting used to a new style, but the team is still getting used to the new additions to the team. Indiana averaged 97.7 PPG over the past four seasons, they have averaged 105 PPG in their five preseason games. Indiana has scored 100 plus points in four of their five games.
Since the Pacers have not been running their system for long enough to dictate games with it, they will be going with a traditional 3-out, 2-in look in this game. Chicago plays a traditional power forward in almost all of their lineups, meaning that it would most likely be a defensive disadvantage to play Paul George at power forward at this moment in the team's development.
Typically, the Pacers would start Jordan Hill at power forward when they play a team that uses a traditional power forward. However, the team will start Lavoy Allen at power forward in this game since Jordan Hill will be out with a sore back. Myles Turner is the only other injury to report for the Pacers, he has a sore calf and he will not play in this game. The other starters will remain the same, including Paul George at small forward.
The Pacers are expected to use the following starting lineup; George Hill, Monta Ellis, Paul George, Lavoy Allen, and Ian Mahinmi. Indiana is projected to treat this like a normal game in terms of their use of minutes in their rotation. That means they will probably play a 10-man rotation since the team stated earlier in the off-season that they would like to use a 10-man rotation during the regular season.
The Bulls are expected to use the following starting lineup; Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah. Derrick Rose is still out since he is recovering from an orbital fracture. This game will be treated like a real game by both teams, in terms of minutes. It will be a great test for the Pacers to continue to get better executing their new offensive style, as well as their overall defensive execution with their new personnel.
Frank Vogel wants to use the final two preseason games as if they were regular season games. Expect to see the starters play a longer than what they have played in the previous preseason games. The rotation will be smaller, as previously mentioned. This should be as close to a real game is comes, but unfortunately the Bulls won't be without all of their key players. But this game will still serve as a great test for the Pacers.
The Pacers' offensive style could see their best game of the preseason. There are a few noticeable factors that come to mind; Chicago is playing with Nikola Mirotic at small forward, Indiana will be using their key players significantly more, the less talented players won't get any minutes, Chicago doesn't have Derrick Rose, Indiana has a great scheme matchup with their emphasis on tempo and floor spacing, and the Pacers have a lot of favorable individual matchups.