Wednesday, March 29, 2023

NBA Preview: Indiana Pacers (28-36) at Chicago Bulls (29-35)

During the lengthy NBA season, every rebuilding team will experience setbacks. This does not apply to the Indiana Pacers.

The Indiana Pacers will try to get back on track on Sunday when they play the Chicago Bulls to end a four-game road trip, one game after giving an uninspired performance in their loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Before falling to San Antonio 110-99 on Thursday, Indiana had won two straight and three of four. The Spurs, who currently hold the third-worst record in the league, outscored Indiana 31-16 in the third quarter.

After All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton missed Thursday’s game due to tightness in his right calf, Indiana hopes to have him back in the lineup.

Without Haliburton, who is averaging 20.1 points and 10.1 assists, the Pacers are 2-11 this season. In his place, rookie Andrew Nembhard had trouble against San Antonio, scoring four points on 0-of-8 shooting.

One bright spot was guard Chris Duarte’s performance, breaking out of a long shooting slump with 18 points on 8 of 14 shots, including 2 of 3 attempts from three-point range.

One game behind Chicago, the Pacers are 12th in the Eastern Conference. The two groups are engaging for tenth spot and a spot in the association’s play-in competition. Two games ahead of the Bulls, the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors currently hold the final two spots.

After falling 125-104 to Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns on Friday, Chicago is reevaluating its strategy. Phoenix shot 20 of 47 (42.6 percent) from beyond the arc, led by 35 points from Devin Booker, who also made six 3-pointers, matching his career high.

20 points came from Durant.

With 28.7 attempts and 10.3 made 3-pointers, the Bulls rank 30th in the NBA. After shooting 7 of 23 from three-point range against the Suns, coach Billy Donovan stated that the team needed to improve those numbers.

Zach LaVine had 27 points in the loss to Phoenix, while DeMar DeRozan had 31. According to DeRozan, the Bulls must immediately concentrate on Indiana.

The last time Chicago played the Pacers was on February 15, when it lost 117-113. In the game, LaVine scored 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. In his last five games against Indiana, he has averaged 25.2 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

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