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

 

2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Eastern Conference First Round

Eastern Conference First Round Game 3 - Chicago 88, Indiana 84 – Bulls lead series, 3-0

 

In ancient Greek mythology, the figure of Sisyphus ranks as a particularly poignant and tragic one. The Indiana Pacers are the NBA postseason’s version of that man.

Sisyphus was consigned to an existence in which he was forced to roll a massive stone in a deep, curved valley. He would roll the ball up a hill but never be able to push the ball over the final ledge that would allow him to rest. The curvatures of the landscape would always send the boulder rolling back to the deep middle of the valley, making Sisyphus a lot like Atlas, the one who carried the world on his shoulders.

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It seems as if the Indiana Pacers have done everything but beat the Chicago Bulls in the first three games of their playoff series. The team with just 37 wins is playing like a 45-win club, but it can’t ever push the boulder over that final ledge. The ball just keeps rolling back to the bottom of the valley, and as a result, the Bulls are going to advance to round two of the playoffs despite playing far below their best.

Indiana’s Danny Granger missed a potential game-winning three point field goal with under two seconds to play and the top-seeded Bulls moved their series lead to 3-0. The miss capped a final 83 seconds of missed opportunities for Indiana. With the score tied at 84 Darren Collison and Granger missed back-to-back jumpers which would have given Indiana the lead. The misses gave Chicago star Derrick Rose the chance to seal the deal. Despite struggling mightily from the field all evening, the prohibitive favorite to take home this year’s MVP diced through the lane, finishing with a layup at the rim and giving Chicago the lead for good. Rose’s heroics could have been upstaged by Granger, but the Pacers’ meal-ticket scorer failed to capitalize.

 

 

Indiana has been tremendously competitive in all three games against heavily favored Chicago. The Pacers, who are in their first playoff series in five years, had great energy all night. As in the two games previous, an unexpected player stepped up for Indiana. On Thursday it was Dahntay Jones, who had 11 points and held Rose in check on the defensive side. Frustration is mounting for Indiana, which dominated the paint to the tune of 36-18 and held Derrick Rose to just 4-of-18 shooting, only to lose another heartbreaker. Granger led Indiana with 21 points.

Chicago’s ability to get to the free-throw line was a big key all night. The Bulls capitalized on 23 of 27 attempts. Chicago also turned up the defensive pressure midway through the fourth quarter, holding the Pacers without a field goal for over three minutes. During that time, the Bulls turned a five point deficit into a five point advantage. They would never trail again.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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