There's really no good time to play one of the NBA's best teams, but the Bulls may be catching the Indiana Pacers at their lowest point of the year tonight on CSN. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live, hosted by Mark Schanowski and Will Perdue. They'll also have Bulls Postgame Live following the final horn, breaking down the action along with highlights and reaction from Tom Thibodeau and the players in the locker room.
Frank Vogel's group began the 2013-14 season as the league's hottest team, winning 18 of their first 20 games and 25 of their first 30. That included winning streaks of nine games (to begin the year), seven games and five games, and Paul George was a serious MVP candidate prior to Kevin Durant's post-New Year explosion. Roy Hibbert essentially had Defensive Player of the Year honors wrapped up by December -- that certainly has changed -- and Lance Stephenson, an unrestricted free agent next season, was increasing his future salary by the game.
But Indiana has come to a screeching halt this month. The Pacers are 7-6 in March, including a season-worst four-game losing streak and a pair of wins over the historically bad 76ers by seven and nine points, respectively.
And at the core of the problems has been George, who's going through his roughest patch of the season during the Pacers' marginal stretch. The NBA's reigning Most Improved Player, the man who went toe-to-toe with LeBron James in the Eastern Conference Finals last May, is averaging 18.5 points on 38 percent shooting in 13 March games. He's been solid in other categories, averaging 7.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists, but his inefficiency on offense is hurting the Pacers offense, which ranks just 20th in efficiency.
It's been worst in the Bulls' past two games, as he scored just 10 points in a win against the Bulls and eight points in Memphis on Saturday. The latter game marked his second lowest point total of the year, behind only a two-point performance in a loss to the Bobcats.
But no matter how poorly George is playing, the Bulls offense must be better if they want to have a shot at beating the Pacers. They managed just 79 points on Fruday, marking their third lowest output since February. They shook off a rusty start against the Sixers on Saturday to score 91 points, and now they'll look to split the season series with the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers. It's all happening tonight on Comcast SportsNet.