The Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers have already played three games against each other this season, but they’ll play their fourth on Friday night in Chicago. The Pacers have owned the season series thus far, coming into this game with a 3-0 lead.
Their last game came at the end of January, which ended in a 115-106 victory for Indiana. That was a similar score to their game before that, which ended 116-105 in the Pacers’ favor. That game was in Chicago, so Indiana will be looking for a similar ending.
With plenty of injuries to go around for both teams, it’ll be interesting to see who ends up suiting up on Friday. No matter what happens, that will end up being the storyline heading into this one. Look out for that injury report ahead of shootaround.
Will the Pacers Finish the Sweep?
The Indiana Pacers would absolutely love to complete the sweep of the Chicago Bulls, especially since it’s a 4-game series that gets more and more intense as it goes on. The Pacers have managed to score 115.5 points per game in their last two meetings against Chicago, so offense will be priority.
They will have a barrage of injuries to deal with, though. Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren, Doug McDermott, JaKarr Simpson, and Victor Oladipo are all questionable to play. As you can tell, that list contains some of their top players this season.
Even missing just one of those players will change the dynamic of this game. The Pacers will need to be on their top game regardless of who suits up, especially since they have struggled on the road this season — just 16-15 this year.
Chicago Looks to Avoid Embarrassment
The Chicago Bulls won’t just be fighting to avoid the sweep, but they definitely won’t want to face that type of defeat at home. They will have a little extra motivation heading into this one given the circumstances, but they too will be held back by the injury bug.
Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, and Chandler Hutchinson are all listed on the injury report. Markkanen is expected to play and put up 13 points and 4 rebounds in his first game back last time out. The rest of the players will be sidelined, including Luke Kornet.
If Chicago wants to win this game, they’ll have to see some massive improvement from Lauri Markkanen. At the same time, they’re still taking it easy with him so don’t expect much. That leaves Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr., and Otto Porter Jr. to carry the team. That could be a good or bad thing.
Pacers / Bulls Betting Lines
Will the Pacers finish the season sweep of the Bulls? BetOnline has the Indiana Pacers (-105) with a 4.5-point advantage over the Chicago Bulls (-115). They expect a low-scoring game with the over/under listed at 213 total points.
Free Betting Pick
With the amount of injuries being experienced by both teams, it’s clear that we won’t be seeing either team’s best on Friday. With that being said, it’s a good chance to see some of the depth they have. This will be much more important for the Indiana Pacers, who will likely need these players to be fresh come playoff time.
The Bulls only have one player averaging more than 16 points per game, but he will be sidelined (LaVine). I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of scoring from the Bulls. Meanwhile, I think the Pacers can put up enough points no matter who plays.
Final Score 104-97, Indiana Pacers.