The Bulls lost Game 4 in Indy 89-84 after being dominated nearly the whole game and a D-Rose injury.
From the 15-1 run that closed the first half, the Pacers dominated Game 4 of the seven-game series with the Bulls in Indy until a 18-3 fourth quarter run by Chicago in the final five minutes made a game of the affair. But in the end, the Bulls lost 89-84 and couldn't pull off the first round sweep.
Derrick Rose (15 points on 6-for-22, 1-for-9 on 3s, 10 assists, four steals, three turnovers in 43:27) turned his ankle in the first quarter making a layup and didn't have the explosiveness to get to the rim for the rest of the game. The rest of the Bulls offense bricked 3-pointers and couldn't get to the rim or the FT line. The game was almost one of 2-point jumpshots and even when that works, it's bad basketball -- especially when you can't rebound on the other end.
There was no inside game from the bigs other than Joakim Noah (21 points on 8-for-13, 5-for-7 on FTs, 14 rebounds). Yes, Noah. Carlos Boozer (15 points on 6-for-15, 3-for-3 on FTs, 13 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, four turnovers) was required to step up, but refuses to play back to the basket and still can't jump since spraining his ankle over a month ago. Taj Gibson (zero points on 0-for-5, four rebounds in 16:20) still thinks 6'9" players are most valuable taking 17-foot jumpshots. Omer Asik barely played -- but played well on defense -- and Kurt Thomas is, well, old.
Luol Deng (16 points on 5-for-16, 1-for-5 on 3s, 5-for-6 on FTs, three rebounds, three assists) put the ball on the floor, but didn't do so on Danny Granger until the fourth quarter and it was too little too late. Deng getting to the FT line was pretty much the Bulls' best chance to have efficient possessions. He got there, but again, too late.
The defense was there for the Bulls. Indy only shot 31-for-79 from the floor (39.2%), 5-for-16 on 3s (31.2%) for a .424 eFG%. The Bulls had foul trouble with individual, but Indy couldn't hit FTs, going only 22-for-34 at the line (64.7%). The Bulls' offense was simply more embarrassing, shooting only a .382 eFG% for the game.
The inside and 3-point game sucked. The Bulls only hit 11-of 21 layups (52.4%), had only two dunks, and hit only 3-of-20 3s (15%) (CBSSports.com). No surprise that they only got to the FT line for 24 FTAs, of which they hit 19 at a high rate (79.2%), but playoff basketball is about aggressiveness translated into easy points at the FT line. That didn't come and neither did scoring points. Go figure.
Overall, the Bulls didn't even play big on the glass. They out-rebounded Indy 46-45 with15 offensive boards at a 33.3% rate, but allowed the Pacers to grab 15 at a 32.6% rate -- on which Indy scored 18 second-chance points.
Fantastic comeback attempt by the Bulls in the final minutes with the stops, but you have to play 48 minutes of basketball. You can get away with not doing so in a game or two, but not in four consecutive games. Eventually, getting out-hustled, out-muscled, and waiting 40-45 minutes into a game to get aggressive will end in losses.
I don't wanna listen to crap about the final possession. The Bulls were down 51-33 at halftime. You deserve to lose those games and the championship contenders who'd won 12 straight, 16 of the last 17, and 24 of the last 26 -- including the regular season -- coming into Saturday afternoon lost a game. Shit. That sucks.
Rose came back into the game because he said he was fine. X-rays were negative and affirmed it was just a sprain. He repeated that after the game, despite hobbling up to the podium (CSNChicago.com).
Tom Thibodeau wasn't sure of Rose's health at the post-game, discussed the final play where the ball was denied very well to the shooters, said the Bulls "need to play a lot tougher," credited Noah's great play that was hindered by his five fouls, singled out his team's disciple as a fault,
Game 5 will be on Tuesday in Chicago. The time is dependent on whether the Celtics can finish off the Knicks in a sweep in New York on Sunday.
The #5 Hawks too a 2-1 lead in their series with the #4 Magic in their 88-84 win in Atlanta (Basketball-Reference). The Hawks would be a more favorable opponent for the Bulls in the second round, but extra games for Orlando are also a bonus on the trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
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