Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Pacers tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Pacers tonight on CSN


Watch as the Bulls take on the Indiana Pacers Saturday on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.


Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Can the Bulls bounce back?

After a 3-0 start, the Bulls have now lost two in a row. The 117-104 loss to the Knicks was the first half of this back-to-back and was probably the team's worst performance of the season. Getting back on track against an Indiana team that is off to a slow start at 2-3 would be a good sign that the Bulls' 3-0 start wasn't just a flash in the pan.

2. Dwyane Wade on a back-to-back

Wade is coming off his best game as a Bull. He scored a season-high 35 points in an otherwise lackluster showing from the Bulls in the loss to New York. Saturday's game in Indianapolis will be the first back-to-back of the season. At 34, it will be interesting to see how Wade recovers. Fred Hoiberg has been conservative with Wade's minutes so far, keeping him just under 30 minutes per game through five games. Wade played 33 minutes against the Knicks.

3. Rematch with the Pacers

For the second time in the young season the Bulls are playing a team for the second time. The Bulls beat the Celtics in the season opener at the United Center, but then lost a close one in Boston six days later. After beating the Pacers 118-101 on Oct. 29, the Bulls head to Bankers Life Fieldhouse hoping to avoid the same fate as the trip to Boston. In the first meeting with the Pacers, the Bulls went up 21 at halftime and Doug McDermott scored a game-high 23 points.

4. Keeping Paul George in check

Paul George is the Pacers' leading scorer so far at 24 points per game. His two biggest scoring games, 30 points against the Lakers and 25 points against the Mavericks, were both Pacers' wins. Those two games were also the Pacers only home games so far. Indiana is 2-0 at home and 0-3 on the road.

5. Better ball movement

The Bulls had a season-low 15 assists, and just two in the fourth quarter, in the loss to the Knicks. Rajon Rondo still led the team with five assists, but shot just 2-for-10 from the field. In the previous game, a loss at Boston, the Bulls also dished out a then season-low 21 assists. That is not a positive trend. Rondo's production has dipped recently, but the absence of injured guard Michael Carter-Williams could also be hurting the offense.

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Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

On the second (turkey) leg of a back-to-back, the Bulls didn't bring much energy in a 110-80 loss to the Utah Jazz. 

Instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of the uninspiring effort, though, we decided to just serve you up a Thanksgiving meal of highlights. Here are the top blocks from Wednesday's game: 

5. Derrick Favors is no Rudy Gobert -- that we know -- but imitation is the highest form of flattery. 

4. Are Bobby Portis chase down blocks the new LeBron James chase down blocks? Let's not get carried away... yet. We'll chalk it up to just a real nice hustle play by Bobby. 

3 and 2. Speaking of hustle plays... Jonas Jerebko isn't exactly known as a dominant defender. He sure made it hard for the Bulls on what should of been an easy fast-break bucket in the third quarter, though. First, he silenced Kris Dunn's reverse. Then, he met Lauri Markkanen at the rim and sent the rookie packing. The Baby Bulls 2.0 can blame it on fatigue, but they just handed Jerebko a highlight tape for years to come.   

1. In fairness, Jerian Grant had to get up a shot as the quarter was coming to a close. It is as vicious as it looks, though.  

Just as we all predicted, two rookies stole the show in L.A.

Just as we all predicted, two rookies stole the show in L.A.

There's not often hype surrounding a game between two of the NBA's worst teams, but Tuesday's Bulls-Lakers matchup was intriguing to many because it offered a chance to see a pair of top rookies compete. 

Oh, but you didn't think we meant Lonzo Ball and Lauri Markkanen, did you?

Nah, it was two different, less-touted first-year players that ended up stealing the spotlight at the Staples Center. 

Kyle Kuzma and Antonio Blakeney may not be household names, but they sure played like they were in the Bulls' 103-94 loss. 

Kuzma, the Lakers rook drafted 27th overall, has been a spark for Luke Walton's squad all season long. Boasting a terrific scoring arsenal, the Utah product carried the load for the Lakers' offense in the first half, dropping 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting. He finished the game as L.A.'s leading scorer with 22 in 40 minutes. But if you still need a more in-depth scouting report on Kuzma, just let Lonzo break it down:  

More importantly for Bulls fans, though, was the play of their undrafted guard who's signed to a two-way deal. 

Blakeney, the unofficial Summer League MVP, came off the bench on Tuesday and immediately left his mark on the game. The 21-year-old out of LSU posted 15 in the first half, finishing through contact as well as connecting on outside jumpers. 

Blakeney's shooting isn't reliable quite yet, but his energy has clearly influenced Hoiberg's rotation. The guard went from playing one NBA minute in the Bulls' first 11 games to playing 75 in the last four. Given that his two-way deal allows him to only spend 45 days with the team, it'll be fascinating to see how creative Gar Forman and John Paxson will get with his contract if this type of production continues. 

In a season that's obviously going to have its share of rough moments, an offseason flyer hitting is a huge plus for the rebuild. 

As for the recognized rookies, Lonzo's shooting woes persisted and Markkanen had maybe his worst offensive performance of his young Bulls career. Combined, they finished 7-for-30 with 21 points. Not ideal.