Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against Pacers


Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against Pacers

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the Indiana Pacers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

1. Slowing down a dynamic Pacers offense: The Bulls have already faced some of the league's best offenses this season in the Cavaliers, Raptors and Magic (yes, the Magic. For real). They'll face another impressive unit in Indiana, who touts the league's seventh most efficient offense. Expected to take a major step back after losing Paul George, the ball movement has been better (9th in assist ratio), they're taking care of the rock (3rd in turnover percentage) and they're making shots (7th in effective field goal percentage). The Bulls defense will have its hands full against the likes of Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner and Darren Collison.

2. Victor Oladipo: It's a shame Zach LaVine isn't healthy because this would have been a fantastic matchup of athletic wings. Since LaVine is still working his way back from knee surgery we'll just have to marvel at Oladipo, who is enjoying a bounce back season after being dealt in the Paul George deal. In his first season with the Pacers he's averaging 22.8 pooints on 46 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists. With Myles Turner having battled a concussion earlier in the year Oladipo is the main reason the Pacers, expected to be one of the league's worst teams, boasts a surprising 5-7 record.

3. Myles Turner is the real deal: He's only played five games because of the aforementioned concussion, but Myles Turner is the best young player the casual NBA fan hasn't heard of. In those five games he's averaging a modest 15.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.7 minutes. But don't let those numbers confuse you; Turner is a budding superstar and while he may not get to the same level of a Giannis or Kristaps, he's going to be the face of the Pacers franchise for the next decade. He's still just 21 years old. Robin Lopez will have his hands full.

Lauri Markkanen has career-high 26 points in loss to Suns

Lauri Markkanen has career-high 26 points in loss to Suns

Lauri Markkanen continues to impress.

The 20-year-old rookie had a career-high 26 points in the Bulls' 113-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. He also picked up 13 rebounds.

After the game, in which the Bulls fell to 3-11 on the season, coach Fred Hoiberg had high praise for the Finnish.

"I thought Lauri was phenomenal," Hoiberg said. "But when he is open, we gotta get him the ball. When he's got it rolling like he did tonight, guys were switching and we had him a couple of times with the point guard buried in his back and we didn't get him the ball."

Watch what Hoiberg had to say about the Bulls' tight loss in the video above.

Road Ahead: Bulls prep for Lonzo Ball and the Lakers

Road Ahead: Bulls prep for Lonzo Ball and the Lakers

The Bulls have a busy week ahead of them.

It will kick off on Tuesday when Fred Hoiberg & Co. take on Lonzo Ball and the Lakers in Los Angeles.

After that, the Bulls will head to Utah and face the Jazz on Wednesday, followed by the defending champ Golden State Warriors on Friday. Both games — against the Jazz and Warriors — will be on NBC Sports Chicago, and streaming live on the NBC Sports app.

See what Mark Schanowski, Vincent Goodwill, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue had to say about the upcoming week in the latest Honda Road Ahead.