Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers (-5.5, 176.5)
Chicago looks to extend its Central Division lead and Indiana attempts to tie the Bulls for the top spot when the Pacers host Chicago on Monday. The Bulls have a one-game division lead but Indiana is a scorching 18-3 at home with 13 consecutive victories. The streak is the longest since the Pacers won 14 consecutive home games during the 2002-03 campaign. Chicago has won seven of its last nine road games and has a 14-7 away mark.
The contest is a makeup of a Dec. 26 contest that was canceled due to inclement weather. The rescheduling means the Pacers will play the only back-to-back-to-back of the entire NBA season. Indiana hosts the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday and visits the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. Chicago expects to have forward Carlos Boozer (hamstring) back while center Joakim Noah (foot) is questionable. Boozer has missed three straight games and Noah has missed the last two. The Bulls have limited each of their nine opponents to 93 or fewer points.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Fox Sports Indiana
ABOUT THE BULLS (29-18): Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler had big performances in Saturday’s victory over the Atlanta Hawks with Boozer and Noah both sidelined. Gibson started at center and had 19 points and a career-best 19 rebounds and Butler started at forward and had 16 points and 10 rebounds. “I know what I can do,” Gibson said after his huge performance. “I did this when Carlos and Jo went down in the past.” Gibson is averaging 16.3 points and 12.3 rebounds over the past three games. Forward Luol Deng also played superbly with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
ABOUT THE PACERS (28-19): Forward David West was superb with 30 points on 12-of-15 shooting in Indiana’s 102-89 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday. West made 11 straight shots as part of his third 30-point outing of the campaign. West had a miserable time against the Bulls in the only previous meeting this season, going 3-of-12 from the field and scoring just 10 points. He averages 17 points and 7.7 rebounds. Indiana thrives with defense but the offense will soon receive a boost with the return of Danny Granger (knee). The Pacers expect Granger to return prior to the All-Star break.
* Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
* Pacers are 4-0 ATS in their last four Monday games.
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Under is 8-2 in Pacers’ last 10 home games.
1. Indiana defeated Chicago 80-76 on Dec. 4 when Paul George scored 34 points and the Pacers forced 19 turnovers.
2. The Pacers are 22-3 when holding opponents under 90 points.
3. Bulls G Kirk Hinrich (elbow) will miss his third straight game.