What can we say about that Rockets loss? At least it was fun watching Nate Robinson single handedly try to bring the Bulls back from a 30 point deficit and do an admirable job of at least providing a glimmer of hope in the game. That said, the Bulls were simply crushed due to a defense that let them down for once.
It's probably not a good thing that 97 points is enough that the Bulls should win, but you can't really expect more from this offense than that. The Bulls shot 44.6% from the field and while that's nothing special, it's probably an average to slightly above average night for the offense. If they score 97 and lose, well, the defense needed to better.
The Rockets shot 56% from the field, and honestly it felt worse than that for the majority of the game. Omer 'stone hands' Asik managed to go 9/13 on mostly wide open dunk attempts. The Bulls simply couldn't stop a rolling rockets offense.
A couple weeks back, I was discussing the tough 10 stretch of games the Bulls would have to play through. I figured 4-6 would be a pretty good record over that stretch. They then went 5-2 making me feel much better about the team the Bulls are fielding.
They've since gone 0-2 with consecutive massive blow outs, looking like the team they did earlier in the season that we thought was a wreck. I'd ask for the real Bulls to please stand up, but I suppose they are. They're an inconsistent group that will always struggle to score, get crushed when another team's offense has it going on, but frequently be able to frustrate opponents with sound defense.
In general, the Bulls are a fairly pedestrian team without Derrick Rose which I suppose is no surprise.
Bring on the Pacers
Chicago gets to play the second half of their back to back on the road against a rested Pacers team. The Pacers have racked up wins recently winning six of their past seven but haven't really beaten anyone exciting over that stretch with the best wins being home games against Philly and Utah.
While largely irrelevant this early in the game, the winner of tonight's game will take control of the central division for at least one day.
Indiana won in a hard fought game last time the teams played in Chicago. I think the Bulls (up until the past two games) have been playing better basketball than at the time of the last meeting, so we'll see if Chicago can turn it around tonight.
This is an important game for the Bulls. They've been crushed in their last two outings, and they need to get back on track.
Battle of the frontcourts
I think the outcome of this game largely hinges on the Boozer vs West and Noah vs Hibbert battles. If Chicago can win the battle of the big men, then I think their perimeter players can do enough to give them the win overall. If Indiana owns the paint, then Chicago's going to have a rough time pulling out the victory.
The Bulls typically count on Luol Deng to provide plenty of offense, but I think they'll have a tough time getting him going against Paul George. George torched Deng last game for 34 points as well, but I wouldn't expect a repeat of that performance this time around.
These are two defensive minded teams. I said in my game review last time the first one to 80 would win, and the Pacers won 80-76 making me look clairvoyant for a day. I think both offenses are playing a bit better right now, and we'll see someone break 90. Let's hope it's Chicago.