Pacers hold off Bulls to avoid eliminationApr 24, 2011 - 12:14 AM Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Danny Granger finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Pacers hold off a furious rally and playoff elimination with an 89-84 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
Roy Hibbert added 16 points and 10 boards for Indiana, which still faces a 3-1 series deficit heading into Tuesday's Game 5 in Chicago. But the Pacers dominated for almost all of Saturday's contest to prevent the Bulls from sweeping the Eastern Conference quarterfinal set.
Indiana led by as many as 18 and was still up by double digits with two minutes left, but top-seeded Chicago staged a comeback and nearly pulled it off, getting within a point with 15.3 seconds left.
But Carlos Boozer missed a potential tying three-pointer with only a few seconds remaining, and Granger made two free throws to secure the outcome in another close game. Every contest in this series has been decided by six points or fewer.
"We have had three games that we've been in there for the whole game and didn't get it closed out," Hibbert said. "Tonight we arrived."
Boozer ended with 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, while Joakim Noah led them with 21 points and 14 boards.
Derrick Rose suffered a left ankle injury late in the first quarter, and while he returned to the game, he shot just 6-of-22 and totaled 15 points and 10 assists.
Rose also took only four free throws after averaging 16.3 attempts in the first three games, but said the injury didn't affect his play.
"I was just missing shots," Rose said. "I thought I got a lot of good looks, but my shot was just short."
His injury occurred on a drive to the hoop with about a minute left in the first quarter. He planted his left foot in preparation for a layup, but it rolled outward. Rose felt the injury immediately, and started hopping around on his right foot before exiting the game and leaving for the locker room.
It was bad news on top of a sub-par first quarter for the Bulls. They turned the ball over seven times and never led in the period, and faced a 23-19 deficit heading into the second.
Remarkably, Rose emerged from the locker room shortly thereafter and was not walking with a noticeable limp. He returned to the game with 10:29 left in the half.
But the Pacers continued to lead and used a dominant stretch late in the half to build their large advantage.
Hibbert made two free throws to start the run, then fought for a second-chance basket in the lane.
After the Bulls missed two shots at the other end, Josh McRoberts got the rebound and pushed the ball up the court, dishing to Darren Collison for a three from the left corner.
A.J. Price, who provided 10 points off the Pacers' bench, then connected on a step-back jumper and Rose lost the ball. Paul George ended Indiana's 11-0 run by connecting on a mid-range jumper from the right side with 41.2 seconds left. The shot put the Pacers up by 16, and they were up 49-33 at the break.
That Indiana was ahead at that point was not a surprise -- it held the halftime lead in the first two games, and was tied with the Bulls in Game 3.
But the margin was eye-opening, and the Pacers stayed in front by double digits for nearly the entire third quarter.
Indiana carried a 67-56 lead into the fourth and was in good position with 2:17 to go, when Hibbert answered a Kyle Korver three with a layup for an 84-71 advantage.
But the Bulls started to rally and cut the gap to 84-77 on Luol Deng's three- point play with 1:36 remaining.
Collison stuffed Rose on a fastbreak layup attempt moments later, but Granger missed a jumper at the other end, just after the game went into the final minute.
Boozer then had a clear look at a layup that was likely to drop in before Hibbert was called for goaltending, and suddenly the Bulls were within five.
The Pacers' collapse seemed more imminent after the ball went through Collison's hands on their next possession. Rose picked up the ball near midcourt and raced in for an uncontested dunk, making it an 84-81 game with 38.9 seconds left.
After Mike Dunleavy made 1-of-2 free throws, Noah accepted an inbound pass and, with an open lane to the basket, started a drive. Jeff Foster couldn't slide over in time to take a charge, and was called for the foul as Noah made the bucket. Noah's free throw had the Bulls within 85-84 with 15.3 seconds to go.
Granger followed with two free throws to prevent Chicago from having a chance to go in front.
The Bulls still had enough time to go for a three or a quick basket, but drained precious seconds off the clock after inbounding the ball to Noah, who struggled to find a shooting option.
Chicago eventually got the ball to the left corner for Boozer, whose three bounced off the near edge of the rim.
"There's three or four different looks to get a three. We didn't get a good look," said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. "They defended it well."
Granger came down with the rebound and made two free throws with a second left.
The Pacers committed eight of their 14 turnovers in the fourth quarter...Indiana made 22-of-34 foul shots...The Pacers got their first postseason win since April 27, 2006...Deng had 16 points for the Bulls, who shot 38 percent.
- CHICAGO: 84
Apr 23 5:22 PM
- CHICAGO: 56
End of 3rd
Apr 23 4:30 PM
- CHICAGO: 33
Apr 23 3:44 PM
- CHICAGO: 19
End of 1st
Apr 23 3:09 PM
- CHICAGO: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 23 2:41 PM
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