Chicago wins series 4-1 (Game 4 of 5)

Chicago wins series 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, April 16th
Game 2: Monday, April 18th
Game 3: Thursday, April 21st
Game 4: Saturday, April 23rd
Game 5: Tuesday, April 26th

Bulls 84

(62-20, 26-15 away)

Pacers 89

(37-45, 24-17 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    2:30 PM ET, April 23, 2011

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHI 19 14 23 2884
    IND 23 26 18 2289

    Top Performers

    Chi: J. Noah 21 Pts, 14 Reb

    Ind: D. Granger 24 Pts, 10 Reb, 4 Ast

    Pacers hold off Bulls' rally to avoid sweep, earn first playoff win since 2006

    Associated Press

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Chicago's fans traveled to Indiana by the thousands, planning to celebrate a first-round playoff sweep.

    The Pacers sent the red and black-clad swarm back home disappointed. After fourth-quarter collapses in each of the first three games, Indiana avoided elimination by holding off a furious rally to beat the Bulls 89-84 in Game 4 of the first-round Eastern Conference series on Saturday afternoon.

    The Pacers not only faced superstar guard Derrick Rose and the pressure of a 3-0 deficit in the series, they dealt with an unexpected roadblock -- a hostile environment on its home floor at Conseco Fieldhouse. The crowd shocked Pacers center Jeff Foster, who has played for the Pacers for his entire 12-year NBA career.

    "I have seen every professional game in this arena, and I have never seen anything like that," he said.

    The young Pacers maintained their composure.

    "We've lost games like this recently where they have come back," Pacers interim coach Frank Vogel said. "Today we grew, and we held them off."

    The Bulls still lead the series 3-1 and will have a chance to close it out at home Tuesday.

    Danny Granger led the Pacers with 24 points, including four free throws in the final 14.1 seconds while being booed. He said the team remembered its earlier failures in the series.

    "Maybe there were a few flashbacks," he said. "More importantly, I was just trying to get my team to calm down. We lost our poise those last two or three minutes and I was just trying to get them calmed down a little bit."

    Chicago's Carlos Boozer missed a 3-pointer that could have tied the game in the closing seconds. The Bulls were looking to set up Luol Deng for the final shot.

    "I caught the ball at the elbow and I was supposed to set a backscreen for Luol," Joakim Noah, who led the Bulls with 21 points and 14 rebounds, said. "They played it well, they denied the dribble handoff. Really, it was a mental mistake. When you're in that position, you've got to call timeout, so we learn from it."

    The Pacers never trailed and broke through after losing the first three games by a combined 15 points. The Pacers squandered double-digit leads in the first two games and a five-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 3.

    It was Indiana's first playoff win since 2006.

    Vogel had been disappointed that Indiana's efforts against the top seed in the East hadn't been rewarded with a win.

    "I think we deserve to be in the series," he said. "I'm still upset that it's 1-3. We should be up in the series."

    Rose, who averaged 32.7 points in the first three games, finished with 15 points and 10 assists. He sprained his left ankle late in the first quarter and scored eight points on 3-for-16 shooting the rest of the way.

    "A sprained ankle is going to slow you down a little bit, but all of my shots were on line," he said. "They were just short. No excuses. It's the playoffs. I've sprained my ankle many times, you've just got to make shots."

    Chicago trailed 84-71 with 2:17 remaining before making a final rally.

    A three-point play by Deng cut Indiana's lead to 84-77 with 1:36 to go. A goaltending call against Roy Hibbert on a shot by Boozer sliced the deficit to 84-79 with 46.5 seconds remaining, and a steal and dunk by Rose pulled the Bulls within 84-81.

    Mike Dunleavy hit the second of two free throws with 17.9 seconds left to make it 85-81.

    Noah made a layup with 15.3 seconds remaining, and Foster fouled him while trying to take a charge. Noah made the free throw to cut Indiana's lead to 85-84.

    The Pacers barely got the ball inbounds, but Granger was fouled with 14.1 seconds left. Through a booing crowd on his home court, Granger made both free throws to make it 87-84.

    Boozer's 3-point try from the left corner was short, and Granger rebounded. Granger made two free throws with a second remaining to close the deal.

    The Bulls shot just 38 percent.

    Rose came up hobbling after going for a layup against Darren Collison. Rose went to the locker room briefly before returning to the bench. He re-entered the game with 10:29 left in the second quarter.

    Indiana closed the first half on a 17-3 run to take a 49-33 lead at the break. Ten different Pacers scored before halftime.

    Early in the third quarter, Hibbert blocked Rose on a layup attempt. Granger collected the rebound then dribbled nearly the length of the floor for a layup to give the Pacers a 55-37 lead.

    Things nearly fell apart for Indiana again, but the Pacers had just enough.

    "The mentality is play it like it's the last game you ever play in your life," Granger said. "We played like that tonight."

    The Bulls now have to regroup for the first time this postseason.

    "It's a tough loss," Noah said. "We didn't play well in the first half, so we definitely have to do a better job with that, and I think we're a team that deals with adversity pretty well."

    Game notes

    The league upgraded two of Foster's hits from Thursday's game to flagrant 1 fouls. Pacers coach Frank Vogel said before the game he had no reaction to it. ... All four games at Conseco Fieldhouse between the Bulls and Pacers this season were sellouts. The Pacers, including the playoffs, had only eight sellouts all year. ... The Pacers wore gold uniforms instead of their usual home whites.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 89
    FGM-FGA 31-82 (.378) 31-79 (.392)
    3PM-3PA 3-20 (.150) 5-16 (.313)
    FTM-FTA 19-24 (.792) 22-34 (.647)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-46 15-45
    Assists 19 12
    Turnovers 14 14
    Steals 7 6
    Blocks 6 5
    Fast Break Points 0 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 18

    Top Performers

    Joakim Noah Noah
    Points: 21
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Danny Granger Granger
    Points: 24
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0

    Research Notes

    The Bulls have played well during the last 5 minutes of their games against the Pacers during the 2011 playoffs. Even with Game 4's loss, the Bulls were able to cut a 17 point deficit to just 1 point with 15.3 seconds left in the game.
    NEXT LEVEL: The Bulls were unable to get off to a strong start on Saturday against the Pacers. Collectively, the Bulls shot 33.3 percent in the first half, the lowest they have shot during the 2010-11 season. Where they have struggled the most was from the three point line where they went just 1-for-6 from that distance.
    Derrick Rose has shot under 30 percent from the field in consecutive games for only the 2nd time in his career, regular season or postseason. The only other time was back in December of 2008, his rookie season
    NEXT LEVEL: Derrick Rose has played well in this series against the Pacers averaging 32.7 points and going to the free-throw line 22 times per game. Tonight, the Pacers defenders stepped up by holding Rose to 15 points and limiting his free-throw attempts to just four. Where Rose struggled the most was in the second half in which he began by missing six straight field-goals, going scoreless in the 3rd quarter, and making his first field-goal with 6:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.
    The Pacers were 13-15 on free throws in the 4th quarter, after going 9-19 in the 1st 3 quarters. Four different Pacers were perfect from the line, with Mike Dunleavy the only one to miss.
    Carlos Boozer was an unlikely person to attempt the 3-pointer to tie the game for Chicago late on Saturday. He missed. In his 617 career NBA games, combining both regular season and playoffs, Boozer is now 1-10 in his career on 3-pointers. Boozer's only made 3-pointer in his career came on December 30, 2003 as a member of the Cavs... against the Pacers.

    ESPN Stats & Information