Posted November 16, 2013 on AP on Fox
Indiana keeps talking about the big picture. It wants the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and the only way the Pacers think they can get there is by winning every night. So rather than savor the best start in franchise history, the longest winning streak in the franchise's NBA history or the first 9-0 start in the league since 2002-03, the Pacers are going back to work with one goal Saturday - beating Chicago. ''We really started the year with that mindset knowing that Chicago's going to make a run at some point, Miami's going to make a run at some point, and we've just kept that in the back of our minds in terms of winning the games that we feel like we should win,'' power forward David West said after Indiana's latest victory, a 104-77 win over Milwaukee on Friday night. Indiana has taken advantage of its early chances, too. In less than three weeks, the Pacers have already built a three-game lead on Miami in the East and hold a four-game edge over the Bulls (4-3) in the Central Division. Another win Saturday would make Indiana the 14th team in league history to go 10-0 and put Indiana on the cusp of matching the franchise's longest winning streak ever, 11 games in 1972-73 when the Pacers were still an ABA powerhouse. Beat the Bulls, and there's no telling how long this streak could go. After Chicago, they get a three-day break before heading to the Knicks. They back-to-back games at Boston and at home against Philadelphia next weekend before closing November by hosting Minnesota, traveling to Charlotte and returning home to face Washington. Then they embark on a weeklong West Coast swing that starts against the Clippers. Some Pacers fans are already eyeing the league record start: 15-0 by the Washington Capitols in 1948-49 and matched by Houston in 1993-94, according to STATS. Players and coaches, however, are so focused on Saturday's game, they're not even pondering the ramifications of what another win over Chicago would mean - a five-game lead and clinching at least a split in the four-game season series. The only things they care about are getting better and beating whomever shows up on the schedule next. ''We have Chicago (Saturday), might as well just get a little bit a rest,'' center Roy Hibbert said when asked whether he would have liked to have played more minutes Friday night when he fell two blocks short of a triple double. ''That's going to be a big game tomorrow.'' The Bulls could be at a disadvantage Saturday. Derrick Rose, the NBA's 2011 MVP, missed Friday night's game at Toronto with a right hamstring injury. Team officials said Rose would be re-evaluated before Saturday night. If Rose can't play, Kirk Hinrich would likely start. Hinrich scored 12 points in Chicago's first road win of the season and played well when Rose sat out last year with a knee injury. ''Kirk's a great player, man,'' Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said after Chicago's 96-80 victory over the Raptors. ''He's underrated. He does a great job running our team, gets us in our sets. He hit some big shots in the third and fourth quarter for us, too.'' Even with Rose, the Pacers still blew out Chicago 97-80 last week - Indiana's most lopsided win until Friday night's blowout. So far, nobody has played better than the Pacers. They're allowing a league-low 83.7 points per game and are limiting opponents to 38.6 percent shooting - easily the best defensive field goal percentage in the league. Indiana has the highest scoring differential (plus-12.2), the most blocks by a team (81), the league's No. 1 shot blocker in Hibbert (4.8) and is one of only five teams with at least three road wins this season. The Bulls have been here before. In March, without Rose, Chicago ended Miami's 27-game winning streak, and the Bulls would love to it again. ''It'll be a great test,'' Hinrich said. ''They're playing as good as anybody in the league right now.'' The Pacers insist there is no time for a break. While they did start sluggishly against the injury-riddled Bucks after a three-day layoff, the Pacers quickly seized control. The trailed just twice all night, for a total of 64 seconds, and then steadily pulled away. But as they chase the top seed in the East and what they hope will lead to their first NBA title in June, the Pacers have no plan to let off the gas - or take a break. For them, it's all about putting the championship pieces together. ''Every game could be the difference between home-court advantage and not having home-court advantage, whether we're playing team with a losing record on the road or a great team like Chicago, it doesn't matter,'' coach Frank Vogel said. ''We're on a mission and we're trying to put ourselves in best possible position come playoff time.''
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Chicago Bulls slowly rounding into form

The Chicago Bulls’ season started with a thud amidst high hopes. Through a combination of concern about whether the Miami Heat could three-peat, and optimism about Derrick Rose’s return, the Bulls were a chic pick to make it out of the Eastern Conference and win the NBA Finals. Unsurprisingly, the Bulls fell flat and looked bad in a few early contests, against Miami and Indiana...

Chicago Bulls: Just Give Derrick Rose More Time

Chicago Bulls: Just Give Derrick Rose More Time By Milan George: Hoopstuff Writer… Coming into this 2013-2014 NBA season, the biggest headline in Chicago and one of the biggest in the NBA was the return of Chicago Bulls superstar, Derrick Rose who hadn’t played in around 18 months, due to him tearing his ACL in the 2011-2012 playoffs. The biggest question about his return was...

Is Derrick Rose Back

Is Derrick Rose back? That is the question being raised among Chicago Bulls’ fans after the former NBA MVP scored a season-high 20 points, helping the Bulls knock off the previously undefeated Indiana Pacers. Before you get giddy, hold your enthusiasm. Rose’s good game against the Pacers is yet just one more step on the... Read More The post Is Derrick Rose Back appeared first...

Rose, Bulls end Pacers' perfection

Derrick Rose came to work unsure if he'd be able to play. He left with his confidence intact and his team's future looking very bright. Luol Deng scored 23 points, Rose added 20 and the Chicago Bulls knocked off the NBA's last unbeaten team with a 110-94 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night. Taj Gibson had 15 points and eight rebounds for Chicago (5-3), which...

Rose, Bulls halt Pacers' undefeated run with blowout win

The fact that Derrick Rose’s best regular-season game thus far coincided with the Bulls’ (5-3) best offensive game of the campaign was nice, but doing it against the previously undefeated Pacers (9-1) made it even better. The Bulls, led by Rose’s six three-pointers, dominated Indiana on both ends of the floor, leading to a 110-94 win Saturday night at the United Center. ...

Bulls G Rose has torn meniscus in right knee, will need surgery

Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose is out indefinitely because of torn cartilage in his right knee that will require surgery, the team said Saturday. The former MVP has a medial meniscus tear and there's no immediate timetable for his return. Rose had an MRI in Los Angeles on Saturday after he was injured a night earlier at Portland. He won't be with the team for its...

Bulls’ Derrick Rose misses Practice due to Hamstring

The Chicago Bulls have had Tuesday through Thursday off this week, and Derrick Rose has missed practice two days of practice due to a right hamstring strain. Rose first missed Wednesday’s practice but did rehab work, according to Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau. Derrick Rose (sore right hamstring) did not practice today but did rehab work, said #Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. He...

Derrick Rose misses practice, could miss Friday vs. Toronto

Derrick Rose missed practice Thursday but says if the decision is his, he'll playon Friday vs. Toronto. The Bulls have their first back-to-back of the season Saturday against Charlotte. Rose injured his hamstring Tuesday in a win over the Cavaliers. "There's a chance," he said. "Right now I'm feeling all right, just trying to rest, do a little treatment...

Derrick Rose Wants To Be Smart Returning From Hamstring Tightness

Derrick Rose suffered his first-ever hamstring injury on Monday and has not practiced with the Chicago Bulls since. Rose missed Friday's win over the Toronto Raptors and is a game-time decision to play against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, but it would not be surprising if he sat out. "Just being smart about the situation," Rose said. "There's nothing like...

Derrick Rose unlikely to play Friday vs Raptors

TORONTO– Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is likely to miss Friday’s game vs the Toronto Raptors. Rose is currently dealing with a sore right hamstring, this according to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. The injury was suffered on Monday night when Rose and the Bulls played the Cavaliers at the United Center. Sustained late […]

Bobcats-Bulls Preview

With Derrick Rose back, the Chicago Bulls will try to remain perfect at home and keep the Charlotte Bobcats from matching their longest road win streak in franchise history. After shining in a victory over previously unbeaten Indiana, Rose will also seek to lead the Bulls to their fifth consecutive victory Monday night. Rose was dealing with an injured hamstring before Saturday...

VIDEO: Derrick Rose stars in NBA Christmas promotion

  Derrick Rose will star in the NBA new Christmas ad campaign. You can see that NBA Christmas campaign with Derrick Rose after the jump. The campaign will include a TV spot to promote the uniforms titled “Jingle Hoops” which will feature the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, along with five other NBA players: the Miami Heat’s LeBron James, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin...

Pacers-Bulls Preview

Even with Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls were outmatched by the Indiana Pacers last week. Then again, no team has been Indiana's match this season. Chicago may have an even tougher time becoming the first to knock off the Pacers - and prevent them from notching the longest win streak in their NBA history - if Rose doesn't return Saturday night at the United Center. "...

NBA Christmas: a big logo, sleeves on jerseys and the "Jingle Hoops" curse

Ok, it is a pretty cool NBA commercial and the verdict may still be out on the jersey with sleeves and oversized logo for Christmas, but what about the dreaded “Jingle Hoops” curse no one is discussing. You know what we are talking about… With the NBA “Big Logo” promo ad featuring LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, James Harden, Stephen Curry and Steve Nash...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.