You can look at game 1 and say that the Pacers blew it. You can also say that Derrick Rose willed the Bulls to victory. You’d be right on both accounts. Indy blew it, and D-Rose played like a beast possessed. It’s that simple. The Pacers had a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter, and frittered it away. They couldn’t contain Rose (39 points), and when they did key on him, he dished off to Kyle Korver for a roof-exploding 3 to get Chicago their first lead since the early moments of the first half. But here’s a look at some of the other numbers, and key stats, in a very entertaining Game 1 from the Windy City.
*Da Bulls were monsters on the offensive glass, tallying a 21-13 edge on offensive rebounds. Joakim Noah led the way with 8 of them. That shows tenacity.
*Da Bulls were stallions at getting to the foul line, garnering a 31-17 edge on free throws, with Rose getting to the charity stripe 21 times. That shows aggressiveness.
*Luol Deng’s technical foul after Tyler Hansbrough (a bright spot with 22 points) fouled Rose hard on a drive woke the crowd up from their collective coma, and ignited the Chicago attack. That shows a guy who will stick up for his teammates, and testicular fortitude.
*Da Bulls dominated the 4th quarter, outscoring the Pacers 33-20 in the final 12 minutes, including a 16-1 run in the final 3:38, with Rose scoring 7 of the 16. That shows why he’s the MVP. And while he was putrid from 3-point line (0-9), he was money from inside the arc (10-14). Wow.
So Indy can take away that they can hang with the Bulls, but will need a much better bench performance if they want to steal a game in Chicago. Danny Granger had a huge 2nd half, with 24 points in all, which may be a bright spot for the Pacers. But these are the Playoffs, and moral victories are about as useful as a bumhole on an elbow. Chicago came into these playoffs wanting 16 victories, and they are 15 away from their goal. They’ll take the victory, and move on. Game 2 is set for Monday night, 4/18, at 9:30 PM. Giddy up.