NBA Basketball

86
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Chicago 26 11 30 19 86
Indiana 31 33 37 24 125
125
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CTNaN:� , January 6, 2018
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana  Attendance: 17,923

Oladipo may return for Pacers vs. Bulls

According to STATS
According to STATS

Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers

  1. This will be the fourth and final meeting between the Bulls and Pacers in 2017-18. The Pacers lead the season series 2-1; they overcame a 14-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to defeat the Bulls 98-96 in Indianapolis on December 6.
  2. The Pacers shot 50.0 percent from the floor in their games played in January last season, which was the second-highest FG percentage in the NBA for that month (GS, .509). In Indiana's only game in January 2018, it shot 48.8 percent from the floor in its loss to the Bucks on Wednesday.
  3. The Pacers are 0-5 this season without Victor Oladipo, compared to 19-14 when he plays. Oladipo has missed the last four games with a knee injury.
  4. After averaging 3.6 rebounds per game with Oklahoma City last season, Domantas Sabonis is pulling down 8.0 RPG for the Pacers in 2017-18. Entering this weekend, that +4.4 jump was the biggest improvement in the NBA (minimum played in 70% of team G in both seasons).

INDIANAPOLIS -- The burning question facing Indiana is will Victor Oladipo be able to play against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night and will that provide the spark the Pacers need.

The Pacers have lost five in a row, with the past four being without Oladipo, who is sidelined with a sore right knee. Oladipo has been able to practice Thursday and Friday, but Indiana coach Nate McMillan said it is a game-time decision whether he will play or not.

"It's just like anyone else you are trying to work on timing," McMillan said of Oladipo. "He's been able to do that the last two days in practice going through a lot of practice. He'll have to continue to do that once he gets in a game, but he has been able to go through live contact."

There is no question the Pacers miss Oladipo, who averages a team-high 24.9 points. Indiana forward Bojan Bogdanovic, who is shooting just 37.7 percent in the last five games, also is listed as questionable with a sprained left ankle.

The Pacers (19-19) lost to the Bulls (14-25) 119-107 on Dec. 29. The Bulls hit 18 3-pointers in that game. The win against the Pacers was the Bulls' 10th in 12 games. Since then, Chicago had dropped three in a row before rebounding to beat host Dallas 127-124 Friday night. Point guard Kris Dunn scored a career-high 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting and delivered nine assists to lead Chicago. The Bulls, who trailed 88-80, scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told the Chicago Tribune he had a pre-game chat with Dunn.

"I brought him in my office and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to start giving you some added responsibility. You're becoming a guy who as you go, we go. I'm going to let you control the offense, so you're not looking over your shoulder for play calls.' "

Bulls shooting guard Justin Holiday, who scored 23 against the Mavericks, said that was what he expects from Dunn.

"He's going to come with it," Holiday said.

Holiday was optimistic the Bulls were still on the right track after losses to Washington, Portland and Toronto.

"Obviously even though we lost these games, we are not playing like we were (earlier in the season)," Holiday told Bulls.com prior to playing Dallas. "We're not as bad as we were. That's on both ends. Even though we lost these games, we are in these games, teams are respecting us when they play us and we're fighting back. But sometimes we have lulls."

There have been few positives for the Pacers of late.

"It hasn't been pretty," McMillan said. "It hasn't felt good. It's not so much getting beat, it's how you get beat. We're not playing with that energy, that effort, that sense of urgency, that connection we were playing with a month ago. We've got to get back to that."

McMillan doesn't want to use Oladipo's absence as an excuse.

"I know we haven't been ourselves," he said. "I can't put my finger on the reason for that. We haven't had that energy at certain positions in the first group."

McMillan pointed out the Pacers got in another big hole early in Wednesday's 122-101 loss at Milwaukee.

"It's been a challenge to the team," he said. "They know what we expect of them. If we're not getting that, then we'll give some other guys opportunity."

Updated January 6, 2018

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