Posted March 23, 2013 on
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Following a difficult stretch, the Indiana Pacers are once again making progress toward their first Central Division title in nine seasons.
A season sweep of the Chicago Bulls would certainly help their cause.
The Pacers will try to extend their lead in the division by sending the slumping Bulls to another loss Saturday night at the United Center.
After dropping four of six, Indiana (43-26) has won its past three games by an average of 22.4 points. David West has missed all three of those games with a back injury, but Tyler Hansbrough has started in his place and averaged 18.0 points and 12.3 rebounds.
Hansbrough had a team-best 22 points and 12 boards Friday in a 102-78 rout of Milwaukee.
"I feel like I'm trying to get into the flow of the game, not rushing," Hansbrough said.
With the win, the Pacers moved six games ahead of second-place Chicago in the Central, and they can widen that gap even further with their first season-series sweep of the Bulls since 2001-02.
"It's going to be tough to get that fourth win (of the season) against Chicago, but I think the guys are up for the challenge," coach Frank Vogel said.
Chicago (36-31) has dropped six of eight - beginning with a 97-92 loss at Indiana on March 3 - and is in danger of losing three straight for the first time since November. The Bulls got starting guard Kirk Hinrich and reserve Taj Gibson back from injuries Thursday but fell 99-89 to visiting Portland.
They trailed by as many as 28 before making the score a little more respectable in the fourth quarter. The Bulls are a half-game ahead of Boston for sixth place in the Eastern Conference, but their slump has left them only 2 1/2 games in front of the eighth-place Bucks.
"Every game counts, and we need everybody. We've got to keep pushing," Gibson said. "It doesn't get easy at all if you look at our schedule. We've got a lot of tough teams coming up. We've got to keep fighting."
Chicago is still playing without superstar point guard Derrick Rose, who said "nobody knows but God" when he'll return from last year's knee surgery. Veteran guard Richard Hamilton hasn't played since Feb. 26 because of back spasms.
Hamilton was also out the last time the Pacers visited Chicago, an 80-76 loss for the Bulls on Dec. 4. Paul George had 34 points and nine rebounds as Indiana won for the second time in three trips to the United Center following nine straight losses there, including three in the 2011 playoffs.
George is averaging 21.7 points and 10.0 boards in the season series. West has been even more productive against the Bulls in 2012-13 - totaling 60 points on 22-of-36 shooting in the last two matchups - but he is expected to remain out Saturday.
Hansbrough has shot 5 of 25 and averaged 3.6 points in his last five games versus Chicago, all as a reserve.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Chicago Bulls are waiting on Derrick Rose to return with his big play ability.
In the meantime, they have guys like Nate Robinson who as seen here, can bring the hurt.
Please click here to watch this video.
The post Video: Chicago Bulls Nate Robinson splits the middle for nice slam appeared first on Players View.
Chicago Bulls point guard Nate Robinson had one of the best plays of Thursday night's NBA action as he split two defenders, dribbled between his legs and finished with a huge one-handed slam dunk against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Robinson's dunk was part of a furious rally by the Bulls as they scored 36 points in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately it was too little...
The daily Derrick Rose update has been part of the Bulls fan’s life for over three months now. Did he practice? Will he sit the season? How many games does he need to get acclimated to the speed of the game? The biggest question fans need to ask themselves is this: Will Derrick Rose make the difference between a first round exit and beating the Heat to make the NBA Finals...
Earlier this week, the above video featuring a couple attending an Indiana Pacers game went viral.The boyfriend, Jake Moran, had a delicious mint chocolate chip waffle cone that he was munching on. His girlfriend, Georgia Arnett, wanted to share, but Moran wasn't having it.Furthermore, TNT analyst Chris Webber decided to break down the incident via the use of a telestrator. As...
Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose still isn't sure when he'll come back from his knee injury.
The former MVP point guard sounded like a player who just might miss the entire season, though he said he hasn't experienced any setbacks in his recovery. He said Thursday that he's still experiencing some soreness in his surgically repaired left knee and hasn't set...
The Indiana Pacers got back on track against two teams well out of the playoff picture.
They'll try to keep up their winning ways against a Milwaukee Bucks team they could wind up seeing when they open the postseason.
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PLAY THE BALL
Nate Robinson was ejected during the third quarter of Saturday night’s game vs. the Bulls Central Division rival Pacers after flagrantly fouling Lance Stephenson. After having the ball stolen from him, Robinson chased Stephenson down and grabbed him above the neck forcing him to the floor. Initially it was called a Flagrant 1, but after review Robinson was ejected when the call...
Tweet Second-year player Jimmy Butler has become a favorite of Chicago Bulls fans thanks to his defense against some of the league’s better scorers, like the impressive outing he had against Kobe Bryant earlier this season. Butler’s athleticism is not only an asset when trying to keep opponents in check but it’s also handy [...]
Easy stuff. After a close first half, the Pacers tightened the defense screws in the second, and coupled with another Larry Sanders meltdown/ejection, sped to a 102-78 victory, their 3rd in a row by 20 or more.
David West sat out again with a lower back problem and will be unlikely to return tomorrow night against the Chicago Bulls as the Pacers aim for a season sweep. Danny...
Derrick Rose made himself available to the media on Thursday afternoon and reiterated that while he is “close”, he is still not ready for a return, and doesn’t know when he will be, adding, only God knows. The Bulls have 16 games remaining.
According to CSN Chicago:
“It could be tomorrow and I could feel like I could play the next game,” he said. “Nobody knows but God...
Chicago Bulls All-Star center Joakim Noah has a foot injury and will not play against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
Noah had platelet-rich plasma treatment on his right foot in February to treat plantar fasciitis and coach Tom Thibodeau said the injury has flared up.
Thibodeau said Noah is day to day and is not likely to play Sunday at Minnesota. The coach did not say who...
Looking for the dunk of Friday night in the NBA? We here at That NBA Lottery Pick have that clip for you to view.It happened in the first quarter of the Milwaukee Bucks/Indiana Pacers game as Paul George unleashed a nasty high-rise slam dunk in the face of Milwaukee center Larry Sanders:
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points, Damian Lillard added 24 and the Portland Trail Blazers completed a season sweep of the Chicago Bulls with a 99-89 victory on Thursday night.
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