Tip-off – Wednesday, March 22, 2006 - 7:00pm et
Where – Conseco Fieldhouse
Johnson / Jackson / Stojakovic / Foster / Pollard
Jones / Tinsley / Granger / Harrison / Jasikevicius / Gill
2005-06 TEAM LEADERS
Points - Jermaine O'Neal 20.9
Rebounds - Jermaine O'Neal 9.8
Assists - Jamaal Tinsley 4.5
Steals - Stephen Jackson 1.23
Blocks - Jermaine O'Neal 2.17
FG% - J. O'Neal .468
FT% - P. Stojakovic .913
3PT% - P. Stojakovic .423
Hinrich / Gordon / Deng / Allen / Chandler
Duhon / Nocioni / Harrington / Schenscher / Piatkowski / Pargo / Sweetney
2005-06 TEAM LEADERS
Points - Ben Gordon 16.4
Rebounds - Tyson Chandler 9.1
Assists - Kirk Hinrich 6.3
Steals - Kirk Hinrich 1.14
Blocks - Tyson Chandler 1.25
FG% - Tyson Chandler .575
FT% - Kirk Hinrich .840
3PT% - Ben Gordon .430
Anthony Johnson vs Kirk Hinrich
Previous games vs Bulls this year:
Saturday, Jan. 14-
Saturday, Jan. 21-
Guess the score and you could win 10,000 points!
With just 17 games remaining, the Pacers have picked an inopportune time for a slump.
After a 30-point blowout loss in Memphis Tuesday night, the Pacers (33-32) dropped into a tie with Milwaukee for sixth (and seventh) in the East. It was their second loss in a row (by a combined margin of 45 points) and their third in four games.
"It's embarrassing, point-blank," said Anthony Johnson. "Memphis is a good team but we were not ready to play at all. It was embarrassing to be a part of it. … I'm sick to my stomach. Hopefully, guys will look in the mirror, feel embarrassed by it and feel a sense of pride. The Bulls really bring it and we have to be able to match their intensity."
The Pacers have played the last two games like a team waiting for someone else to save the day. Though Jermaine O'Neal has said he is "really close" to returning from a groin injury that has kept him out the past two months, no one player can cure what ails this team. Over the last two seasons, the Pacers are 41-38 with O'Neal in the lineup, 36-33 without.
In their last matchup against a sub-.500 Eastern Conference team clinging to fading playoff hopes, the Pacers came up flat and lost 103-88 at home to Boston. Enter the Bulls, who at 29-38 are ninth in the East. Indiana has struggled with Chicago this season, splitting two meetings (winning 91-89 on the road on Jan. 14 but losing 101-89 at home on Jan. 21). In both games, the Pacers shot below 39 percent, were outrebounded (by a total of 99-75) and their normally productive bench was outscored (95-82). The Pacers also are 13-17 against teams with losing records.
Chicago has lost three in a row but features a defense that ranks first in the league with a .427 opponents' field goal percentage. Offensively, they're fourth in the league in 3-point accuracy (.384). They have a gifted point guard in Kirk Hinrich (17.7 points, 6.4 assists, 4.0 rebounds in the last 36 games) and lethal shooters in Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni (35 points in two games against the Pacers). Though they've lost 17 of their last 18 trips to Indianapolis, that streak came to an end with a victory this season.
Peja Stojakovic had his third double-double in 23 games with the Pacers (13 points, 11 rebounds) in Memphis. He had two in his last 1½ seasons in Sacramento. … Fred Jones has averaged 4.6 points while shooting .250 overall and .188 from the 3-point line in his last seven games. … Johnson has averaged 14.2 points and 5.2 assists while shooting .493 overall in his last 18. … Stephen Jackson has averaged 12.2 points while shooting .315 overall and .188 from the arc in the last five. … David Harrison had his second double-double of the season in Memphis (13 points, 11 rebounds) and third of his career. … Jeff Foster has averaged 11.5 points and 12.8 rebounds while shooting .630 from the field and .733 from the line in the last six. … The team has shot .261 from the 3-point line in the last seven games. … The defense has surrendered averages of 103.0 points and .519 shooting in the last three losses. … The offense has averaged 81.5 points and .374 shooting in the last two games.
In the Pacers' 91-89 victory over the Bulls on Jan. 14, Tyson Chandler played little, picking up five fouls in four minutes. In Chicago's 101-89 victory on Jan. 21, Chandler started and had 15 points with 14 rebounds as the Bulls dominated the boards 51-35. With the rest of the Bulls largely perimeter-based, Chandler is the lone interior presence and has been playing well for awhile, averaging 11.1 rebounds and 1.48 blocks while shooting .589 from the floor in the last 27 games. If he is able to use his length and athleticism as a disruptive force inside, the Pacers could be in for a long night.
Pacers - F Danny Granger (ankle) and C Scot Pollard (left foot) are probable; F Austin Croshere (concussion) and F Jermaine O'Neal (groin) are out. Bulls - F Luol Deng (eye) and G Chris Duhon (back) are probable; F Darius Songaila (foot) is out.