The Chicago Bulls played about 44 minutes of horrendous basketball, and they still came away with the victory.
With less than half of the quarter remaining, the Bulls found themselves down by ten points on their home floor against a completely over-matched Indiana Pacers team, and something clicked. Derrick Rose had a career playoff high in points, many of which came from the free throw line as the Bulls pulled ahead of the Indiana Pacers with a huge run late in the game.
After a bad first half, Danny Granger was absolutely unstoppable for the Pacers in the second half and really was key for their run, but not to be out done was power forward Tyler Hansbrough, who had his mid-range jumper working. Hansbrough, the former NCAA player of the year and National Champion at North Carolina, has really come on in the second half of the season for Indiana, and is one of the more intriguing players in the league right now. He was absolutely shredding the net from about 15-18 feet, and was virtually unstoppable.
For the Bulls, it was the worst 44 minutes of the season that I have seen, and I can say that with confidence. The Bulls were very fortunate for their offensive rebounding and the fact that Derrick Rose basically lived on the free throw line, because their deficit should have been much larger than it was.
Rose was ice cold from three-point range, and between he and starter Keith Bogans, they were 0-for-11 from beyond the arc. Still, the Bulls had two timely three point shots from Luol Deng, and as usual, Kyle Korver who hit the three that gave the Bulls their first lead in the game.
The Bulls need to find a way to harness the momentum they had at the end of this game, because the Pacers are going to be ticked off for their next game, and they have nothing to lose at this point. They have an interim head coach, and a team that barely scratched into the playoffs anyway—those teams can sometimes be the toughest to beat.
This series will resume on Monday where the Bulls will host the Pacers again with a 1-0 lead in the series.