The Chicago Bulls are on quite an impressive run, racing out to an NBA best 16-3 record as they look like one of the top teams through the first quarter of the lockout-truncated season. The most impressive part of their early-season performance, however, is the fact that they've been able to do it without some of their best players in the lineup.
A total of six players have missed 29 games for the Bulls this season -- the biggest of which being Derrick Rose as he missed five games due to a toe injury suffered a couple of weeks a go -- but it won't get any easier for the Windy City's favorite basketball team. Small forward Luol Deng, largely regarded as the glue of the team, will be forced to miss what could end up being significant time due to a wrist injury.
Even without Deng, Rose, Richard Hamilton, C.J. Watson or any of the other rotational players that have missed games this season, though, the Bulls have been able to find a bit player off of the bench step in and be productive -- even the way end of the bench guys like Brian Scalabrine and D-League call-up Mike James. That will be imperative again on Wednesday night, too, as the Bulls host the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers are coming off of a loss to the Orlando Magic on Tuesday in which they shot worse than 40 percent from the field while allowing Orlando's Ryan Anderson to lead the Magic with 24 points in the 102-83 loss. Roy Hibbert struggled and the backcourt all around wasn't exactly impressive in the loss to the Magic, meaning the Pacers should be looking for a resurgence in Wednesday night's game.