Quantcast 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round One - Chicago vs Indiana


2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Eastern Conference First Round

Eastern Conference First Round Game 2 - Chicago 96, Indiana 90 – Bulls lead series, 2-0


Things didn’t get easier for the top-seeded Chicago Bulls on Monday night. After a hard fought, come-from-behind Game 1 victory over the eighth-seeded Indiana Pacers on Saturday, the Bulls were stuck in yet another close contest in Game 2. The recipe for success was very much the same. Derrick Rose was simply terrific, pouring in 36 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and dishing out 6 assists to propel the Bulls. Like Saturday afternoon, no assist was more important than his last. Rose found Kyle Korver for his second straight clutch three-pointer in as many games. On Saturday, Korver  banged in a tiebreaking three from the left wing with 48 seconds left to give Chicago a 102-99 edge over the Pacers. This time, Korver got free in the right corner and swished a triple that put the Bulls in front by a 90-85 score with 1:06 to go. The dagger didn’t quite put the game out of reach for the upstart Pacers, but it made the mountain too high for the number eight seed to climb in just 66 seconds.

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Indiana battled the 62-win Bulls all night long, refusing to go quietly. Danny Granger and reserve guard A.J. Price were the only Pacers to score in double-figures. Price was ushered into service after starting point guard Darren Collison was injured. He did not return. Despite playing under-handed, the Pacers had their chances to steal the game, cutting the lead to as little as two points (90-88) with under a minute to play when Rose improbably fouled Price on a three-point attempt. Price knocked down all three foul shots to gain back the three points the Pacers lost on the Korver Trey. However, Chicago steadied itself at the foul line. Luol Deng hit two free throws with 17 seconds left to build back a four-point cushion at 92-88, and when Indiana couldn’t score on the following possession, the reality of the situation set in. The Pacers spilled the tank twice and pushed Chicago far harder than a 37-45 team ever expected to, but in the end, the Bulls gained the 2-0 series lead all basketball pundits predicted before this best-of-seven series even started.

Carlos Boozer had 17 points and 16 rebounds for Chicago. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah went a combined 5-for-25 from the field. If the Bulls want to make a deep run in the playoffs, they will have to rely on more than a Derrick Rose monster performance. They’re lucky they’re playing a 37-win team and not a 50-win team this week.



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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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