Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers
Tip-off: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 – 7:00 PM ET
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
The Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers have managed to impress their YouWager fans by ending their past two seasons at the top of the Central Division. This happened mainly due to their defensive prowess.
In 2012 defense is still both teams’ calling card, even when one is currently trying to recover from back-to-back disappointments.
The Bulls will make it Indianapolis looking to avoid equaling a season-high three-game skid in a matchup with the surging Pacers.
Both the Pacers and the Bulls own two of the NBA’s top scoring defenses at 89.9 and 91.0, respectively. However, Chicago’s defense hasn’t been gold lately.
The Bulls (15-12) have given up 212 points over its past two games, its highest two-game total of the season. Chicago has let their last two rivals shoot a combined 52.8 percent from the floor — a number in stark contrast to their 43.1 season average.
The latest defensive disappointment came with a 120-97 defeat to the Houston Rockets last night. It was the Bulls’ largest margin of loss of the season and its most points allowed.
In addition, Omer Asik made things even more sour tallying 20 points and 18 rebounds against his former team. The Bulls didn’t match Houston’s three-year, $25 million offer sheet for Asik in the offseason.
Indiana (16-12) is finding success without reigning leading scorer Danny Granger. Even when being without the team-leading 21.6 ppg that Granger has averaged since 2007-08, the Pacers have won three in a row and seven of eight.
In the 29 year-old’s absence, Indiana has primarily relied on three players — David West (17.4 ppg), Paul George (16.3) and George Hill (15.0). Most recently it was West, who scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half of an 81-75 win against the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday.
Indiana trailed by 22 at one point and owed the comeback mainly to their defense. They won the third quarter 24-7 while holding the Hornets to 3 of 17 from the field.
The Pacers 40.8 percent field-goal defense is the best in the league.
Indiana grabbed an 80-76 road win over Chicago on Dec. 4 with George scoring 34. The basketball teams combined for 37.3 percent shooting.