Preview: Pacers at Bulls

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[December 26, 2016]  The Indiana Pacers will try once again to avoid a third straight loss when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Monday. The Pacers lost two in a row four times this season and won two straight on four occasions, but they have yet to have a streak of either kind last three games while struggling to sustain much either way.

"Our identity is inconsistency," forward Paul George told reporters in the wake of Thursday's 109-102 loss to the Boston Celtics. "We've yet to spread from the pack (in the Eastern Conference) and we've yet to string some games together." The Bulls may be short on energy after a 119-100 loss in San Antonio on Christmas Day and they've lost three straight games that fall on the second half of back-to-backs. Dwyane Wade scored 24 points in the setback Sunday as Chicago allowed the Spurs to shoot 56.5 percent from the field in losing their third game in a row overall. The Pacers shot 53.5 percent and forced 18 turnovers en route to a 111-94 victory over the Bulls at home on Nov. 5, which knotted the season series at a game apiece.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV, FSN Indiana, CSN Chicago

ABOUT THE PACERS (15-16): George struggled to produce a 5-of-16 effort from the field in the loss to the Celtics while point guard Jeff Teague continued to stuff the stat sheet. He is averaging 22.2 points, 9.6 assists and 6.2 rebounds - nearly four more than his career average - over his last five games. However, Teague is only 3-of-17 from 3-point distance during the busy stretch and Indiana is shooting 27.1 percent in that span.

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 ABOUT THE BULLS (14-16): Chicago has not had much go right of late but it might get a little boost in the return of guard Michael Carter-Williams from knee and wrist issues. The fourth-year pro has not played since Halloween but had his most complete performance two days prior in a 118-101 win over the Pacers, producing seven points, five assists, two blocks and a steal in 23 minutes. He should help a bench that managed just 29 points on 40 percent shooting in Sunday's loss.


1. Bulls SF Jimmy Butler is shooting 40.8 percent from the floor and 28.9 percent from long distance at home.

2. Chicago entered Sunday last in the NBA with six 3-pointers made per game while Indiana was 27th with an average of eight per contest.

3. The teams wrap up their four-game season series at Indiana on Friday.

PREDICTION: Pacers 101, Bulls 100

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