The Indiana Pacers have not won a game since February 3rd, and tonight they will look to get back on track as they play host to the Chicago Bulls. We’ll preview the game before going over why I’ll be targeting the point total in this one.
As we approach almost a full week since the trade deadline, it is still surprising that the Chicago Bulls decided to make no moves. The Bulls have lost four straight games, and their offense in that span has been one of the worst in the league. Over those past four games, the Bulls have only scored over 100 points in just one of them, and in that span, their offensive efficiency rating of 94.4 is the worst in the league.
One of the biggest arguments for the Bulls to be sellers at the deadline was their offensive inconsistencies, which have continued past that point. Chicago’s effective field goal percentage of 45.9% across the past four games is 30th in the NBA, and over their losing streak, they have not shot above 24% from three in a game.
On the defensive end, the Bulls have played well over their losing streak; in fact, they rank 3rd in the league in defensive efficiency rating over that span. Their opponent tonight has not had a clear-cut strength recently, and over their five-game losing streak, they rank 28th in the league in NET rating.
Indiana has won just one game over their past ten, and over their five-game losing streak, their defensive efficiency rating is the 4th worst in that span. Across those five games, opponents are shooting 51.7% from the field and 39.2% from three against them, so if there were ever a game for the Bulls to break out of their three-point shooting slump, tonight would be the night.
Over their past ten games, Indiana has only scored under 111 points in three games, but they still rank 21st in offensive efficiency rating in that span, with a 19th-ranked true shooting percentage.
The current point total for this game is set at 231.5, and I’ll be taking the under as my play in this one. The under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between these teams and 5-0 in the Bulls' last five games. Additionally, the under is 5-0 in the Pacers’ last five home games and 6-2 in their previous eight games overall.
Chicago’s current defensive pace has been impressive, and tonight they have a significant opportunity to hold another team to under 100 points. Over the past ten games, the Pacers are getting 34.6% of their points from the three balls, which is the 8th highest percentage in the league, but recently Chicago has been running shooters off the three-point line efficiently. Across the past five games, opponents are shooting just 32.1% from three against them.
Indiana’s defensive struggles recently may not affect the total as much as one would think, mainly because of how horrid the Bulls' shooting numbers have been. Across the past five games, the Bulls are 26th in field goal percentage, one spot below the Indiana Pacers.