Skidding Bulls prepare to host struggling Pacers

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The Indiana Pacers hope to welcome back Malcolm Brogdon when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.

Brogdon has missed the Pacers’ past four games, as well as seven of their last eight games, because of a nagging back injury. But the 27-year-old took part in practice Thursday, and coach Nate McMillan told reporters he was “hopeful” Brogdon would be able to return to the court against the Bulls.

The return of Brogdon would serve as good news for Indiana, which remains without top player Victor Oladipo because of a quadriceps injury and listed Domantas Sabonis as questionable because of a knee injury. Brogdon, who also is listed as questionable, is averaging 17.7 points and 7.4 assists in 27 games this season.

The Pacers have built a winning record despite an injury-plagued campaign. But they are looking for more consistency, particularly coming off a 122-108 loss at home against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

“There are nights where we look like we can play with anyone,” Pacers guard T.J. McConnell told reporters. “(However), we come out and lay an egg (against the Heat), drop the ball, energy-wise. Miami took it to us. We never really responded. That’s not who we are. That’s what’s really disappointing.”

Chicago is also looking to end a recent string of disappointments. The Bulls have lost five games in a row and six of their last seven, including a 123-108 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in their most recent game Wednesday night.

More tough news followed as Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Bulls forward Wendell Carter Jr. has a high-ankle sprain and could miss multiple weeks. Carter reportedly had an MRI on his right ankle Thursday.

The Bulls already have been without perimeter player Otto Porter Jr. for an extended period with a foot injury. Carter’s absence could lead to more playing time for rookie big man Daniel Gafford, among others.

Bulls guard Kris Dunn called out himself and his teammates after their latest defeat.

“Teams are making adjustments, and we’ve got to be able to adjust with them,” Dunn said to reporters. “At the same time, it’s our fault — the players on the court. We’ve got to be able to see what they’re doing. We just couldn’t get a grasp of it (against the Pelicans). We’ve got to be men about it. This is a game of runs, and you’ve got to be able to withstand it and fight through adversity.”

This is the second of four games between the Pacers and Bulls this season. Indiana coasted to a 108-95 win on its home court Nov. 3 behind a team-high 26 points from T.J. Warren, who made 10 of 16 shots from the field.

Warren is expected to play for the first time since he was ejected Wednesday after a confrontation with Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler. The 26-year-old Warren is averaging 17.9 points while shooting 50.4 percent this season.

Chicago is 7-13 on its home court. Indiana is 8-10 on the road.

–Field Level Media

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