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

 

2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Eastern Conference First Round

Eastern Conference First Round Game 4 - Indiana 89, Chicago 84 – Bulls lead series, 3-1

 

It’s an overrated expression in the world of sports. The Indiana Pacers didn’t deserve to win a game in their series with the Chicago Bulls just because they played hard. Teams don’t deserve victories strictly on the basis of effort. They deserve to win when they actually get the job done.

Now, only now, can it truly be said: The Pacers deserved to win a game in this first-round confrontation with the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The worst team in the 16-squad playoff field finally fought off its propensity to choke and held on for a gritty triumph over a 62-win opponent.

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Yes, the fourth time was the charm for the young Pacers. Having held and lost fourth quarter leads in the previous three games against top-seeded Chicago, Indiana found the strength to finish what it had started on the fourth attempt. That didn’t mean it was easy, though. For a while, it looked as if it would be at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. A Danny Granger jumper with 6:43 left in the contest put Indiana up 80-64. Roy Hibbert’s layup gave Indiana an 84-71 lead with just 2:16 remaining. Yes, Chicago erased a 98-88 deficit in the final 3:29 of Game 1, but the law of averages suggested that the Pacers could breathe easily in the final minutes of this contest.

Sorry – that’s not the way Indiana rolls. The eighth seed in the East just can’t do things the easy way.

 

 

The Bulls weren’t ready to go quietly, either. Chicago went on a quick 10-0 run, capped by a Derrick Rose dunk with 38 seconds left. The crowd, which had a decided Chicago flavor, came to its feet as the Bulls cut the Pacers’ lead to 84-81. The Bulls later reduced the margin to just one point, at 85-84, after Joakim Noah’s basket and foul with 15 seconds left. Chicago fouled quickly and Granger hit two free throws to push the home team’s lead back to three at 87-84. On the ensuing possession, neither Rose or hot-shooting Kyle Korver were able to get the ball and the Bulls were left with a Carlos Boozer three point attempt in the corner. It did not connect and Indiana escaped.

Granger led all scorers with 24 points. Rose, who had marvelous outings in Game 1 and Game 2, was just 10-of-40 during the two games in Indiana. Chicago was just 3-of-20 from distance and had zero fast break points on Saturday. Indiana extended its season for at least one more game as the Pacers proved to be a worthy opponent for Chicago for a fourth straight time. Thankfully for the folks in Indiana, their team has something to show for its effort.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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