Bulls rally late, beat Pacers in playoff openerApr 16, 2011 - 10:40 PM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Kyle Korver made a three-pointer with 48.4 seconds remaining to give the Bulls their first lead of the game, as top- seeded Chicago used a late surge to down Indiana, 104-99, in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at the United Center.
MVP candidate Derrick Rose scored a playoff career-high 39 points to go with six rebounds and six assists for the Bulls, who closed the game on a 16-1 run.
Luol Deng tallied 18 points and 10 boards for Chicago, which went 62-20 this season to capture bragging rights in the East for the first time since the 1997-98 season, when a Michael Jordan-led group won its third straight and sixth NBA title in eight years.
Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough donated 24 and 22 points, respectively, for the Pacers, who went 37-45 this year.
Indiana was dead in the water until Frank Vogel took over for Jim O'Brien as the team's head coach back on January 30. The result was a 20-18 run and a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06 for Indiana.
"I'm very proud of our effort tonight," Vogel said. "I have a great deal of belief in this team. We should have won this game. The last several weeks we've been playing as well as anyone in the NBA. This will be a series."
Game 2 of the best-of-seven set is scheduled for Monday in the Second City.
The Pacers seemed poised to take Game 1 after Hansbrough scored seven straight points to give them a 98-88 lead with 3:38 to play. Hansbrough returned to the floor midway through the fourth after taking an elbow to the head at the end of the third.
But the Bulls dominated the rest of the game. Deng made a pair of free throws to spark the big 16-1 surge, and Joakim Noah followed with a tip-in and emphatic slam to make it a four-point contest.
Roy Hibbert made 1-of-2 from the line at the other end to account for Indiana's lone point in the stretch.
Rose took his game to another level with the contest on the line. With 1:50 to go, Rose drove to the hoop and made an acrobatic layup while being fouled. He sank the free throw to cut the gap to 99-97.
Darren Collison's missed jumper gave the Bulls a chance to tie the game, and that's just what they did. Rose made a spinning floater this time around to make it 99-99.
Korver then made two big plays to give Chicago the lead, starting with a block of Collison's shot. Rose then drove to the basket and drew the attention of the defense before dishing to an open Korver beyond the arc. The shot gave the Bulls their first lead of the game, 102-99, with 48.4 seconds left.
Granger then missed a jumper for the Pacers and Deng missed at the other end, but Kurt Thomas grabbed a key offensive rebound. Indiana was forced to foul Rose, who made two free throws for a 104-99 margin with 14.8 ticks to go.
Rose made 19-of-21 from the line overall, and Noah capped the game with a pair of blocks.
"We just got stops and ran," Rose said. "They were in their defensive sets and were forcing me to pass. That and the fact I was not hitting my outside shot was tough. It wasn't going in for me. Next game, it will go in."
The eighth-seeded Pacers led by as many as six in the first quarter and took a 27-23 lead into the second, when they continued to play front-runner. A Collison trey and Hansbrough's jumper with five minutes left made it a 45-37 game.
But Chicago stayed close and cut its deficit to four, 55-51, at the break.
A personal 8-0 run by Granger early in the third gave Indiana a 63-53 lead. The Pacers led by that many for the majority of the frame and carried a 79-71 margin into the fourth.
Chicago got within three, 91-88, on a pair of Rose free throws with under five minutes to play. Hansbrough responded, but things fell apart soon after for the Pacers.
The Bulls took three of four from the Pacers in the regular season...Chicago closed the regular season with nine straight wins...Indiana went 13-28 on the road this year, while the Bulls finished 36-5 on their home floor...The only time these rivals have met in the playoffs was in the Eastern Conference finals back in 1997-98, when the Bulls topped the Pacers in seven games, moving on to win their final NBA Championship in the Jordan era...Collison had 17 points, nine assists and six boards for Indiana, which went 10-of-18 from three-point range...Noah had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Chicago, which went 26-of-32 from the foul line...With 62 wins in his first year as a head coach, the Bulls' Tom Thibodeau joined Paul Westphal (62 in 1993) and Bill Russell (60 in 1967) as the only head coaches in NBA history to win 60 or more games in their first year.
- INDIANA: 99
Apr 16 3:39 PM
- INDIANA: 79
End of 3rd
Apr 16 3:00 PM
- INDIANA: 55
Apr 16 2:13 PM
- INDIANA: 27
End of 1st
Apr 16 1:38 PM
- INDIANA: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 16 1:09 PM
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