Tonight, the Indiana Pacers will host the division-rival Chicago Bulls in both team’s preseason opener at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. This matchup is always exciting during the regular season. Although this is only a preseason game, it should be just as exciting, if not more. We’ve got returns, debuts, and much more. Let’s take a look at everything to look forward to tonight.
The most exciting thing in this game will be the basketball return of Derrick Rose of the Bulls. Rose took off all of last season after injuring his knee in the first round of the playoffs the year before, making this one of the most anticipated returns in a long time. Although the game doesn’t count towards a record, making Rose’s stats almost meaningless, it is a game where we can see if he can respond to all the hate that’s been directed to him all of last season. It will definitely be something to look forward to, no matter what team you cheer for.
There is also another return that is definitely being overshadowed by Rose’s. That return is Pacers’ forward Danny Granger, who took all but five games off last season also suffering from a knee injury. We’re not quite sure how much he’ll play — same with Rose — but his return will undoubtedly impact Indiana. We will also see some rookies and offseason signings, which will also make the game more exciting for sure.
After what both teams have done this offseason, you just have to choose the Pacers here. Later on in the season, the Bulls will definitely be more competitive, but I don’t really see that tonight. The Pacers won the season series 3-1 last season, with the Bulls’ only win being in Chicago. Rose’s return is significant, but he hasn’t played in a real game in ages, and will have his time on the court limited. The Pacers made a splash this offseason, and even though there will be some chemistry issues with the bench, their starting lineup is the same as last season’s. As long as their starting lineup can perform as they did last season, they will have no problem winning this game.
As for an actual score, I say Indiana beats Chicago 95-87. Although these are relatively two different teams from last season, their smash-mouth, defensive-minded play style will be the same, so even 95 is a high score to give up for either of these teams.
Once again, this being a preseason game won’t change anything about this game. It should be just as exciting, if not more exciting, than a regular season game, and will be a great game to watch as long as your college football team isn’t playing.