Indiana’s Conseco Fieldhouse isn’t normally considered an intimidating arena for visitors. For the Chicago Bulls, though, it’s been a house of misery for more than a decade.
Coming off an important victory, the Bulls look to pick up a rare win in Indiana on Tuesday night when they face the Pacers.
After winning the final five contests of a seven-game road trip to move over .500 for the first time since Nov. 19, Chicago (24-25) followed up that impressive surge with three straight losses. The Bulls managed to snap out of that funk with Saturday’s 95-91 win over Miami to move into sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
“Definitely, we needed this one,” said Derrick Rose(notes), who had 24 points. “It gives us more confidence. Our locker room was way more cheerful than it was the past couple of games. Now, we just got to keep it going.”
Building on this victory won’t be easy, though.
Chicago is 3-17 at Conseco Fieldhouse since its opening in 1999, as Indiana’s .850 winning percentage in these games is its best over any East opponent at home in this span.
Both meetings in Indianapolis were close in 2008-09, but once again the Pacers, who are 12-13 at home this season, found ways to win.
Rose had the worst shooting performance of his career in the loss last February, finishing with three points on 1 of 9 from the floor.
Rose, who will play for the East in this weekend’s All-Star Game, led the Bulls with 28 points in a 104-95 win over the Pacers at the United Center on Dec. 29, the only meeting of the season between these Central Division rivals.
Indiana (18-33) has two victories in its last six home games overall and returns to Conseco following a 93-81 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday.
With starting point guard Earl Watson(notes) missing his second straight game due to a death in his family, T.J. Ford(notes) stepped up and finished with a season-high 20 points. For Ford, it was a rare opportunity to get on the court after not playing in 18 straight games until Friday’s 107-83 win over Detroit.