#512 Chicago Bullsvs.#511 Indianapolis Pacers
Written by Chuck D
Indiana Pacers 1-0 (1-0 ATS) at Chicago Bulls 1-0 (1-0 ATS)
When and Where: Saturday, Oct. 29, United Center, Chicago, Ill. 8:00pm EDT
Spread: Chicago -4; Total: 208
Central Division foes clash on Saturday night in Chicago. The Bulls opened their season with a 105-99 home victory over the revamped Boston Celtics. The Pacers, who also played Friday night, opened with a home victory as well, defeating the Mavericks 130-121 in overtime. Chicago leads the all-times series 102-86 which includes an 8-4 advantage in the postseason.
Indiana brought in new head coach Nate McMillan during the offseason in hopes of producing more points out of the roster. In their opener they did drop 130 points on Dallas, but that included an extra period. The team shot 50.5 percent from the floor and went 10-of-19 from beyond the arc. The star of the game was second-year center Myles Turner who finished with 30 points and 16 rebounds. Turner was 13-of-19 from the field and even shot two three’s, one of which went in. “He’s had confidence since last season,” McMillan said of Turner. “He worked his behind off all summer. He’s certainly a threat offensively and he just continues to improve.”
The Pacers’ biggest offseason move was the acquisition of Jeff Teague, who started at point guard and scored 20 points while dropping eight dimes. Paul George added 25 points in the winning effort. Thaddeus Young made his Indiana debut after being acquired in a July trade with Brooklyn. The defense held the Mavs to 43.3 percent shooting from the field.
Chicago opened their season by shooting just 39.1 percent from the floor against a Celtics squad that made 50 percent of their shots. Fortunately for the Bulls, they won the battle of the boards in a landslide, 55-36. The new “Big Three” in Chi-town all had productive nights. Dwyane Wade scored 22 points. Jimmy Butler added 24, and Rajon Rondo had nine assists with four points. “It’s been a big theme of practice, physicality, playing with toughness and not getting outworked,” said Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg. “I think it was evident on the glass, when you outrebound a good rebounding team by 19. That was the difference in the game right there.”
Wade, returning to the town he grew up in, hit four of his six shots from distance. Considering he only made seven 3-pointers all last season, one might deduce that Mr. Wade is happy to be back home. Taj Gibson had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Nikola Mirotic had 15 points off the bench. The announced the signign of guard R.J. Hunter this week after the Celtics cut him. Hoiberg says that rookie guard Denzel Valentine (ankle) will be ready to play without limitations after sitting out the opener.
Indiana just played the previous night and now has to head to Chicago. The home team is 9-4 against the spread in the last 13 games in this series. The win over the Celtics showed that the Bulls might contend in the East this year. There is no love lost between these two Midwestern cities and the United Center should be rocking.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.