Game 1 preview: Bulls vs. Pacers

Game 1 preview: Bulls vs. Pacers

Saturday, April 16, 2011Posted: 12 PM
Bulls (62-20) vs. Pacers (37-45)

Team leaders
Bulls: PPG Rose (25.0); RPG Noah (10.4); APG Rose (7.7)

Pacers: PPG Granger (20.5); RPG Hibbert (7.5); APG Collison (5.1)
Previous games
The Bulls won nine consecutive games to enter the postseason, as well as 13 of their last 14. The Pacers, however, barely squeaked into the playoffs, edging the Bucks for the final spot in the Eastern Conference with five wins in their last 10 contests.

Head-to-head
The Bulls took three of the four games between the two clubs this season, but Indiana grabbed the final matchup a 115-108 overtime win. Chicago outscored the Pacers 409-363 during the season series.

Luol Deng averaged 18 points and seven rebounds per game against the Pacers this year.

In games against Chicago, Tyler Hansbough averaged nearly twice as many points (20.5) as he did during the rest of the regular season (11.0).

Whos hot?
MVP front-runner Derrick Rose has been great all season, but he shot 57 percent from the field and averaged 26.7 points over his last three games of the regular season.

Storylines
The Bulls-Pacers series joins the Celtics-Knicks and Magic-Hawks series on the list of first-round matchups between division rivals. Chicago has only one loss in 16 games against a Central Division opponents this season and it came to the Pacers on March 18.
Sound off
Who will win the matchup between Luol Deng and Danny Granger at small forward?

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from a busy Sunday: 

Tonight on CSN: Blackhawks look to bounce back vs. Lightning

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Today on CSN: White Sox battle Dodgers in spring training game

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

Joe Maddon doesn’t have any concerns about new Cubs closer Wade Davis

Nick Delmonico takes advantage of fresh start with White Sox

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

Owners to consider on and off field changes this week during NFL meetings

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue break down the Bulls' upcoming schedule in the latest edition of the Bulls Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.

TNT Bulls are back this week as the team heads into a crucial stretch. 

Currently, the Bulls sit half a game back of the Miami Heat for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and with just eight games remaining on the schedule, each contest is essentially a must-win. 

So, yes, Thursday would be a great time for Jimmy Butler and company to summon their TNT alter ego. The Bulls have sealed 18 straight victories when playing on TNT Thursday, an improbable feat considering those games are usually reserved for two of the NBA's best. 

To continue that run, they'll have to down Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are also fighting for playoff positioning -- albeit at the top of the conference. Good thing the Bulls have a tendency to get up for big games. 

"The Bulls play up and down to their competition," Bulls Pregame and Postgame analyst Kendall Gill said. "They've been doing that the whole season." 

After Cleveland, the Bulls get set to battle another playoff squad, the Atlanta Hawks. 

Watch the video above to see Schanowski, Gill and Perdue break down the matchups.