Bulls - Pacers rematch: Need for concern?


Bulls - Pacers rematch: Need for concern?

The Bulls (16-3) have developed a healthy list of injuries as of late but hope to continue to stay undefeated at home. Will that be a challenge against the Pacers (11-5) Wednesday? Their stats aren't far behind but with the Bulls' depth they may not have to worry.

The Pacers dropped 3 12 games behind the Bulls in the Central Division after losing their first home game to Orlando (102-83) Tuesday. It will already be difficult to handle Derrick Rose but they may also have a hard time dealing with Richard Hamilton.

Hamilton had a season-high 10 assists Monday. He has been averaging 21.0 points with a 61.3 shooting percentage in his last two games.

The Pacers are averaging 92.6 points per game and are 6-4 on the road. The Bulls are averaging 96.8 points per game and are 8-0 at home. Danny Granger is averaging 16.1 points per game compared to Rose's 20.9, Roy Hibbert averages 10.1 rebounds per game as opposed to Carlos Boozer's 8.5 and Rose once again tops in assists with 8.6 compared to Darren Collison's 5.2.

The Bulls will have to keep an eye on Granger and Collison (11.1 ppg) but I don't think there's too much concern here.

Let's not forget, we do have the 'White Mamba.' Brian Scalabrine has stepped up in Luol Deng's absence and his role will increase with Deng out. Scalabrine logged 23 minutes against the Nets Monday scoring five points, four assists and three rebounds.

Scalabrine is trying to prove to NBA fans that he can in fact make an impact in the NBA. He told the Chicago Tribune, "For me to stick in a league like this isn't easy. I train like I want my body to go for 48 minutes for 66 games. That's the way I work.

"Playing hard, playing with energy, spacing the floor, helping the offense work; I don't think I do anything spectacular. I think I just do things to help my team win."
What do you think the result will be of the Bulls-Pacers rematch? Can the Bulls overcome their injuries and keep their home winning streak alive?

Morning Update: Bulls win season opener; World Series returns to Wrigley

Morning Update: Bulls win season opener; World Series returns to Wrigley

Complete Cubs-Indians World Series Game 3 coverage on CSN

Naperville North vs. Lyons Township Friday on CSN

Why Cubs won’t risk playing Kyle Schwarber in the outfield during World Series

Dwyane Wade's 'perfect storm' makes his debut a dramatic one in Bulls' win

Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks ready for the next biggest start of his career

John Fox: 'No truth' to reports he’s done with Jay Cutler

Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

How Kyle Schwarber is such a ‘baseball rat’ that Cubs used him in their draft war room

Together again: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane reunite on top line vs. Devils

Cubs 'can't imagine' what Wrigley Field atmosphere will be like for World Series

Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

College teammates Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder made plans to go to dinner after Thursday’s game in Chicago but for a few short moments they weren’t just competitors but unexpected combatants, getting tangled up in the second quarter.

There looked to be some harsh words exchanged after Butler took a charge on an unsuspecting Crowder near three-quarter court, with Crowder putting the basketball in Butler’s chest while Butler was still on the floor, causing players on both teams to convene for some tense moments.

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas got involved and then before Butler could blink, Bulls guard Rajon Rondo joined the proceedings, as pushing and shoving ensued before technical fouls were assessed to both teams after an officials’ review.

If one wondered whether these Bulls—a team that touts itself as young with so many players having three years or less professional experience—could play with some bark and bite, perhaps the season opener provided a bit of a positive preview for the next 81 games.

Nearby, an unbothered Dwyane Wade took a practice 3-point shot, much to the delight of the United Center crowd, as observers witnessed the first sign of tangible proof the Bulls have intentions on regaining a bit of an edge on the floor.

Wade joked and took it as a sign of respect between the two teams.

“It looked like it, right? Yeah. It was a little something out there,” said Wade when asked if there was some chippy play. “Every time we play them it’s gonna be like that. Two teams finding their way in the Eastern Conference. We know we gotta see each other a lot. They never give up. They can be down 30 with 15 seconds left and they’re still gonna fight.”

The Bulls have externally preached toughness from the start of camp. Although Wade didn’t participate in that meeting of the minds, he isn’t exactly running away from such matters.
And Rajon Rondo is competitively ornery enough to have his voice hard no matter the setting.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“It’s been a big theme of practice,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We want to play with physicality and toughness. I think it was evident on the glass tonight.”

Yes, the Bulls outrebounded the Celtics by 19, but that could’ve been a by-product of the Bulls’ crashing the offensive glass on a porous shooting night. And yes, the slightly tense moment between Butler and Crowder probably won’t be an expected occurrence.

But when’s the last time one had multiple examples to dissect to discern this team’s level of toughness—or lack thereof.

“That’s something to show that the guys are out there fighting for each other,” Hoiberg said. “That they were playing with an edge. It happens with this game. You have to be competitive.”

Competition boiled over slightly, but considering the NBA isn’t exactly UFC, one doesn’t have to do much to display a little physical resolve.

“The fact that nothing escalated was good,” Hoiberg said. “The fact that those guys are out there and playing for each other and have each other’s back, that’s a huge thing right now.”

Too many times last season, it seemed the Bulls would submit in situations like those. Not that they were particularly soft, but it didn’t appear they had the collective will to fight for one another if an altercation arose.

Half the time, they looked like they could barely stand to be in the room with each other.

“It’s people’s will to win. Not saying a bad thing about anybody from last year,” Butler said. “To tell you the truth, I study the game and put in a lot of work but Rondo studies the game a lot. Every time I’m in the gym, he’s in the gym. That lets me know, these (dudes) are going to war with you. Every day. When I hit that deck, Rondo was right there. I wanna play with guys that’s gonna play hard, that’s gonna fight.”

And it didn’t take long for Butler to realize he has at least a couple teammates willing to jump in the foxhole with him.