Streaking Bulls Take On Pacers In Chicago
(WSCR) – Carlos Boozer’s Bulls debut wasn’t exactly what anyone expected. The Bulls suffered their worst loss of the season and followed it up with an overtime loss in Boston two days later. However, since then, the Bulls have reeled off five consecutive wins, including wins over title contenders Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers.
The Bulls are playing their best basketball of 2010-11 due in large part to Derrick Rose’s efforts from beyond the 3-point arc.
Trying to extend their longest winning streak of the season, the Bulls look for another home victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
Chicago, winner of eight of the last nine meetings with the Pacers at the United Center, defeated Minnesota 113-82 on Saturday for its fifth consecutive victory.
Rose led the way by making a career-best five 3-pointers. The third-year guard, who shot 24.2 percent from 3-point range in his first two seasons, is shooting 41.6 percent on 3s this season and 64.0 percent (16 of 25) during the win streak.
“I’m trying to show everybody what I’m working on,” said Rose, who finished with 21 points on 8 of 10 from the field. “You want to show opponents new things so when they’re going to play you, they know it’s going to be a hard night.”
Rose has averaged 24.6 points and 55.4 percent shooting in his last five games against Indiana.
Boozer scored 17 points versus the Timberwolves and has averaged 14.6 in seven games since returning from a broken hand. The two-time All-Star, however, averaged 28.5 points and 12.0 rebounds in his last two matchups with the Pacers while with Utah.
The Bulls avoided a letdown against the lowly Timberwolves one night after defeating the visiting Los Angeles Lakers 88-84. Chicago is scoring 103.4 points at home compared to 96.7 on the road.
“We want to have the right habits and be ready for any opponent,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You want to be consistent in your approach whether (you’re playing) a defending champion or a rebuilding team.”
The Bulls (14-8) last won six in a row during a seven-game run Nov. 25-Dec. 8, 2006. They’re six games over .500 for the first time since that season, when they went 49-33.
Chicago has held its last four opponents to 84.8 points a game, and faces a Pacers club coming off its second-lowest scoring output of the season.
Indiana (11-11) fell 97-83 to Atlanta on Saturday, its season-worst fourth consecutive road loss.
The Pacers, among the league’s highest-scoring first-half teams at 52.6 points, managed 35 before the break and trailed by 13 after 24 minutes.
“It’s a credit to their defense,” coach Jim O’Brien said. “They really defended us well.”
Danny Granger, who leads Indiana with 21.1 points per contest, was held to 14 on 3-of-14 shooting and went 0 for 5 from 3-point range.
Granger could bounce back against the Bulls, though, as he has averaged 28.0 points – 10.1 above his career average – in his last five games against them.
Brandon Rush scored 14 off the bench against the Hawks and has made 13 of 23 from 3-point range in his last four contests.
Indiana had lost three straight to Chicago before winning 100-90 on Feb. 27.
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