United Center Chicago

Indiana Pacers vs. Chicago Bulls Pick & Prediction DEC 26TH 2021

NBA | BASKETBALL
TV: NBCS-CH | BSN | NBATV
Logo Indiana Pacers
VS
Logo Chicago Bulls
215.5
OPENNER
-8.5

216.5o -111
CURRENT
-4 -110

+155
MONEYLINE
-175

105
SCORE
113

There is a sense of cautious optimism surrounding the Chicago Bulls, who hope the worst of the team's COVID outbreak is behind them.

The Bulls expect to be near full-strength when they face the visiting Indiana Pacers on Sunday, but coach Billy Donovan will be unavailable after entering the league's health and safety protocols on Friday.

Bulls assistant Chris Fleming will serve as acting head coach against Indiana, which has won two of its last three games.

Chicago has had three games postponed this month due to COVID-related issues, including Wednesday's contest against the Toronto Raptors.

Sunday's game will mark the first time Chicago has had center Nikola Vucevic, forward DeMar DeRozan and guard Zach LaVine available at the same time in more than three weeks.

DeRozan missed three games due to the NBA's COVID protocols before scoring 38 points in last Sunday's 115-110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. He then scored 26 in a 133-118 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday.

"These guys have been really great in dealing with not only what we've had to deal with, but what everybody's had to deal with across the league," Donovan said. "I really appreciate their professionalism and the way they've conducted themselves."

Chicago has lost its last six home games against Indiana, which is hoping to have point guard Malcolm Brogdon (right achilles) and forward Domantas Sabonis (right calf) back in the lineup.

Both starters are listed as day-to-day after missing Thursday's 118-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

Center Myles Turner, who has 17 blocks over his past five games, contributed 32 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes against the Rockets.

"Myles was sensational," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "His offensive decision making was on point. He hit a 3, he hit a couple of mid-range shots, he attacked the rim and made some nice touch passes. He only had two turnovers. He had a calm poise to us that helped us get through the third quarter."

The Pacers also received a boost from Caris LeVert, who filled in for Brogdon at point guard and tallied 24 points and 11 assists.

"Caris has proven he's a hell of a point guard," Carlisle said. "Caris is a stone-cold attacker. He knows how to win. If you put the ball in his hands the way we did tonight, he makes really good plays."

Indiana won the season's first meeting against Chicago on Nov. 22, when Sabonis and Brogdon combined for 37 points in a 109-77 victory.

Chicago has won seven of its 11 games since then and holds the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference standings at 19-10.

Point guard Alex Caruso is expected to miss the next few games with a left foot sprain, suffered in Monday's win over Houston. Caruso's absence could provide extra opportunities for guard Alfonzo McKinnie.

The Chicago native, who was signed to a second 10-day contract last week, scored 16 points in 29 minutes off the bench against the Rockets.

"He's a great guy," Donovan said. "He can put it on the floor. He's unselfish. And then he gives you a lot of length on the perimeter defensively. He's fit in very well and has given us, at different points in time since he's been here, a nice boost and versatility off the bench."

--Field Level Media

PREDICTION
Indiana Pacers
108
112
Chicago Bulls

Indiana vs. Chicago Recap DEC 26TH 2020

Victor Oladipo scored a game-high 36 points, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1.2 seconds remaining in overtime, and the visiting Indiana Pacers held on for a 119-116 win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.

Oladipo banked in the go-ahead shot to give Indiana its sixth win in a row. Domantas Sabonis contributed a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers. Thaddeus Young (16 points), Bojan Bogdanovic (13) and Tyreke Evans (10) also scored in double digits.

Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 31 points on 12-for-21 shooting. Lauri Markkanen added 27 points and nine rebounds and Kris Dunn finished with 16 points and 17 assists for Chicago, which dropped its third game in a row.

LaVine drilled a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to even the score at 105 and force overtime. He also hit a 3-pointer with 17.3 seconds left as the Bulls erased a six-point deficit in the final minute of regulation.

The Bulls' top scorer had another chance to even the score in the waning moments of overtime, but he did not release his 3-pointer until after the buzzer sounded. The ball swished through the net but a video review confirmed that time had expired.

An 11-3 run gave Indiana a 92-89 advantage with 5:07 remaining in the fourth quarter. Young made three straight baskets for the Pacers, including a hook shot to punctuate the run.

Oladipo scored 10 points in a row to give the Pacers their first lead of the game midway through the third quarter. The Pacers trailed 61-57 before he hit a 3-pointer, a pair of jump shots and another 3-pointer to put his team on top 67-61.

Chicago led 58-54 at halftime.

Indiana trailed 30-18 at the end of the first quarter but opened the second quarter on a 14-6 run to close the gap to four points. Sabonis had an offensive rebound and tip-in shot with 2 seconds remaining to cap the scoring before the break.

Chicago played its first game since trading Justin Holiday to the Memphis Grizzlies for Wayne Selden, MarShon Brooks and a pair of second-round draft picks one day earlier. Neither Selden nor Brooks played against the Pacers, although Selden is expected to join the rotation soon.

--Field Level Media

 

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