Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bulls Destroy the Pacers, Win Series 4-1!

By Sean Mackey
The Bulls were able to win their first playoff series since 2007 on Tuesday night, defeating the Indiana Pacers 116-89. Derrick Rose shook off a sprained ankle to score 25 points. Luol Deng had a fantastic game with 24 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. Danny Granger lead the Pacers with 20 points. With this win, the Bulls win the series 4-1 and advance to the 2nd round to take on the winner of the Atlanta Hawks/Orlando Magic series.

First of all, it was great to see the Bulls shake off the funk they were in and dominate an average NBA squad like they've done all season. The Pacers definitely turned it up and were just a few points away from having a 3-0 advantage but the Bulls have the NBA's best closer in Derrick Rose right now. I definitely think the Pacers are back but I don't think they have a shot of luring any big time free agents anytime soon. The only way they're going to improve that team is by the draft or some savvy trades. Frank Vogel was caught boasting that they're an "attractive" franchise but they're not.
Anyways, last night's game was pretty awesome. The Bulls lead the entire game and started the game off with a 10-2 lead. The Pacers tried to get back in the game several times during the 2nd and 3rd quarters cutting it to a 5 point lead. By the time the Bulls came out of halftime they pretty much decided they needed this series to be over so they could get some rest.
With the exception of Carlos Boozer, the Bulls frontline was absolutely abusing the Pacers. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson did a great job of contesting almost everything. It should be noted that this was the first game of the series in which Kurt Thomas didn't play. In return, the Bulls put Omer Asik in the rotation with great success. The real story of the game was the defense of Joakim Noah. Noah was simply outgritting the Pacers on rebounds and getting into their heads. After a swift elbow (behind the ref's back) to Josh McRoberts throat, McRoberts retaliated and got caught. The act was considered a flagrant 2 and McRoberts was thrown out of the game. On a play several minutes later, Derrick Rose flew through the air to block a Roy Hibbert dunk and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the game. After a few three pointers made by Rose, the lead was pushing 20.

By the beginning of the 4th quarter, Rose was hit with his 5th foul and he was removed from the game. The bench mob picked up the slack and CJ Watson & Kyle Korver continued to bury the Pacers with 3 pointers the rest of the evening. After the game, Danny Granger complained that Noah was a dirty player but don't try to tell me that Jeff Foster wasn't playing the role of the dirty enforcer on his team. Suck it up man! With the exception of the Cavs, Granger would be a 2nd scoring option on any other NBA team. Danny Granger is a second rate star, he's essentially a Mo Williams who plays SF.

While getting the win was awesome and completely satisfying for those Bulls fans who made the long drive last Saturday only to see the Bulls lose (I was one of them), you have to be worried about Carlos Boozer. His game was completely off the entire series and for a guy who's ALWAYS performed at a super high level during the playoffs, he was less than impressive against the Pacers. Hopefully with 6 days of rest, the Bulls can turn their attention to resting and practicing, while thinking of a way to get Boozer more involved.

Game 1 of the Bulls second round series against the Atlanta Hawks or the Orlando Magic tips off at 8:00 p.m. Monday night. Go Bulls!