for this game

Bulls shoot for 2-0 lead over Pacers

Apr 18, 2011 - 2:33 PM (Sports Network) - The wake-up call came far too late for top-seeded Chicago in the opener of its Eastern Conference quarterfinals set with upstart Indiana on Saturday.

The heavily-favored Bulls hope to take a more conventional approach tonight as they attempt to take a commanding 2-0 series edge when the clubs square off again in the Windy City.

Kyle Korver was the hero over the weekend, burying a three-pointer with 48.4 seconds remaining in Game 1 to give the Bulls their first lead of the contest, as Chicago used a late surge to down the Pacers, 104-99.

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.

"I'm very proud of our effort tonight," Indiana coach Frank 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."

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. The former North Carolina star had 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 begin the big 16-1 surge. Rose finally evened things at 99 with a brilliant spinning floater before Korver made two big plays to give Chicago the lead.

First, the sharp-shooter, who is not known for his defense swatted a Darren Collison shot. Rose then drove to the basket at the other end, drawing 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, wind under a minute to go and the Pacers never recovered.

"We know we're a good basketball team," Vogel said. "We know we can play with this team. We played a great basketball game for 45 minutes. They got the best of us down at the stretch, but we definitely feel like we can compete with this team."

Rose finished 19-of-21 from the line overall but was a dismal 0-for-9 from the three-point line.

"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 Bulls took three of four from the Pacers in the regular season and finished 36-5 on their home floor, beating Indiana twice in the United Center by an average of 20 points per game.

The only other time these rivals have met in the playoffs was in the Eastern Conference finals back in 1997-98, when the Bulls topped the Pacers 4-3, moving on to win their final NBA Championship in the Jordan era.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven set is scheduled for Thursday back in Indianapolis.