Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls (-12, 191)
THE STORY: The Chicago Bulls had more trouble than most people expected in the series opener on Saturday but eventually returned to the form that got them the best record in the NBA - playing tough defense and letting Derrick Rose take over. The Indiana Pacers may have squandered a big lead in the fourth quarter of the Game 1 but at least they learned that they have the talent to hang with the Bulls and maybe steal a game in Chicago. They will attempt to do just that when the teams meet for Game 2 of the first-round series at the United Center on Monday.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT, CSCH, TSN2
ABOUT THE BULLS: For a while, it looked as though Chicago was feeling the effects of all the pressure that comes with being the top seed in the league. Then Rose stepped up. The Bulls ended the game on a 16-1 run and tied it when Rose drove for his second straight circus shot in the lane with 1:27 left. Rose got the rebound at the other end and came back up court, drawing the defense before kicking it out to Kyle Korver for a wide-open 3-pointer and Chicago’s first lead of the game with 48 seconds left. Rose finished with 39 points and went 17 of 19 from the free throw line while Luol Deng chipped in 18 points and 10 rebounds.
ABOUT THE PACERS: Indiana led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter and were still up 10, 98-88, with 3:39 left before collapsing down the stretch. Danny Granger scored 24 points and Tyler Hansbrough added 22 but the Pacers got little from anyone else in the second half. They seemed to figure out how to attack the Bulls’ league-leading defense, shooting 10 of 18 from beyond the arc. Now they just have to find a way to stop Rose from getting into the lane.
WHO’S HOT/WHO’S NOT: Carlos Boozer was a non-factor in the first game for Chicago, finishing with 12 points and six rebounds in 26 minutes as he battled foul trouble. Paul George was held to two points in his first career playoff game for Indiana.
KEY STATISTIC: Rebounding. The Bulls dominated the glass, 49-34, in the first game and were especially active on their own end, pulling down 21 offensive boards.
LAST WORD: When asked if he ever felt safe with the lead, Granger gave this response: “With Derrick Rose on the other team? No. It’s like a crazy stalker ex-girlfriend,” he said. “Every time you tell her you don’t want to talk to her, she’ll show up at your door again.”
TRENDS: Chicago is 0-5-1 against the spread in its last six playoff games as a favorite and 1-6 ATS in its last seven home games
The under is 7-3 in Indiana's last 10 games as a road underdog.
The over is 5-1 in the Pacers last six games at Chicago.