Regular season matchups in the NBA to casual fans are not that important, especially early on in the season. Even players take the approach of it’s just another game. But there are some hardcore fans, like myself, who love the regular season and look at the schedule ahead of time for intriguing games.
This is one of those nights as two rivals of the Eastern Conference collide. The Indiana Pacers and their 9-0 record travel to Chicago to play the Chicago Bulls. The big question going into this game is are the Bulls now ready to compete against the Pacers after a slow start to this season?
The two teams do not like each other to say the least. The Pacers just beat the Bulls two weeks ago for a home victory, 97-80. After the game, Pacers’ star Paul George was chirping saying it’s their time and the Bulls are a thing of the past. This is where the Bulls have to bring the physicality and intensity they are known for. The Pacers can match that physical style of play with the best of teams, so this should be an interesting matchup.
The Bulls have been playing much better since that loss to the Pacers. They have won three games in row and have their defensive swagger back. Coach Tom Thibodeau has said all along that they just needed time to practice and jell to get things back to some normalcy. He knows this is a big game coming up, even if he doesn’t want to admit it. He wants his Bulls to send a message to the Pacers and the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Another thing the Bulls will need is a healthy Derrick Rose back. Rose has an injured hamstring and is not sure if he will play tonight. All signs are indicating he will suit up, but the Bulls are being very cautious with their superstar. If Rose can’t go Kirk Hinrich will step right in once again and man the starting point guard position.
This game will not be another ho hum regular season matchup. This will feel like the playoffs in May. The electricity in the United Center will be on another level for this game, and the Bulls better be ready for anything the Pacers will throw at them. Going toe to toe with one of the best teams in the league will measure how good the Bulls can be.