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News » Bulls-Pacers Preview 2009-03-30

Bulls-Pacers Preview 2009-03-30

Bulls-Pacers Preview 2009-03-30
While the Chicago Bulls will play most of their remaining games at the United Center, a road win over the Indiana Pacers could give them some nice momentum as they head into that home-heavy closing stretch.

Looking to strengthen their hold on a playoff spot, the Bulls visit the Pacers on Tuesday night in the second meeting in four days between the division rivals.

Chicago (36-39) has a two-game lead over ninth-place Charlotte for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth, but it's also battling Detroit for the seventh seed. The Pistons, who host the Bulls on April 13, moved a game ahead of them Sunday when Chicago lost 134-129 in overtime to Toronto.

The matchup at Detroit is Chicago's lone remaining road game following Tuesday's contest. The Bulls play five of their final six at home, where they're 24-12 this season.

First, they'll try to avoid back-to-back losses and earn a rare victory at Conseco Fieldhouse, where they've lost 18 of their last 21. Indiana took the latest matchup there 98-91 on Feb. 22.

Chicago rallied from a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime Sunday on Ben Gordon's buzzer-beating jumper at the end of regulation. After taking a four-point lead in the extra period, though, the Bulls allowed Toronto to go on a 8-2 run to take control.

"We had fought back so much that we were kind of just going on adrenaline," said Gordon, who finished with 37 points. "In overtime we just weren't able to make the plays to win the game."

Derrick Rose finished with 23 points, but committed a critical turnover under the Raptors' basket in the final seconds after Toronto had taken a 129-127 lead.

"He tried to make the pass and lost it," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He's young and he's got to learn. The more we put him in these situations, eventually we'll start making more of those."

Rose struggled in his previous game at Conseco Fieldhouse, finishing with a season-low three points on 1-of-9 shooting. He scored 16 and added nine rebounds and eight assists in the Bulls' 112-106 home win over the Pacers on Saturday.

Indiana's playoff hopes are slim, as it sits 4 1/2 games behind the Bulls with eight left. The Pacers, however, play six of those games at Conseco, where they're 15-5 in their last 20 contests.

The Pacers (31-43) defeated Washington 124-115 at home Sunday for their third win in four games overall. Danny Granger scored 31 points and Brandon Rush matched a career high with 29 and added 10 rebounds.

Rush started his fourth straight game and is averaging 21.0 points in that span. He's scoring 7.2 points per game on the season.

"It's being comfortable and just taking shots," said Rush, who set his career high for points the day before at Chicago. "I guess that's coming from the extra work I've been putting in. Me being in the starting role right now makes me more comfortable out there and the guys are looking for me all the time. The idea is to keep it going."

The Pacers have held the Bulls to 95.7 points in Chicago's last six visits.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 30, 2009


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