First Round Game 1: Pacers-Bulls Preview

Indiana Pacers Status Check:
Record: 37-45
Division: 9-7
Conference: 28-24
Road Record: 13-28
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Streak: Lost 2
Last game: Lost 92-74 to Orlando
PPG: 99.8 (13th)
Opponents PPG: 100.9 (17th)
Offensive Rating: 104.8 (23rd)
Defensive Rating: 106.0 (12th)
Pace: 94.7 (6th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .486 (23rd)
Turnover Percentage: .141 (24th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage:
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .259 (17th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .235 (9th)
Opp. eFG%: .487 (7th)
Opp. TO%: .126(22nd)
Opp. FT/FGA: .237 (22nd)
Leading scorer: Danny Granger (20.5)

Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.

Indiana Injury Report:
None

Season Series:
Chicago won 3-1
Game 1: Chicago won 92-73 (Boozer: 22 points, 18 rebounds)
Game 2: Chicago won 99-86 (Rose: 29 points, 10 rebounds)
Game 3: Chicago won 110-89 (Boozer: 24 points, 10 rebounds)
Game 4: Indiana won 115-108 in OT (Hansbrough: 29 points; Rose 42 points)

Overview:
Everyone is tied when the playoffs start, as far as wins and losses; but this Bulls-Pacers match-up might be the most lopsided of the postseason. Indiana was the last team in, while the Bulls had the best record in the league. Chicago is coming into the playoffs hot, winning their last nine games (three of them against playoff teams) while Indiana backed in, losing their last two games (both to playoffs teams, at the Knicks and Magic).

But it’s not all bad news for the Pacers; Chicago’s lone division loss came at the hands of the Pacers. It was the most recent match-up that they won, topping Chicago 115-108 in overtime. In that game, Indy had a 117.6 offensive rating. It’s hard to believe the Bulls, and Thibodeau, will allow that to happen again. Especially since every Bulls player was given a phonebook-sized scouting report on the Pacers, according to Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.

The Bulls would only lose once more after that overtime loss to the Pacers (on 3/28 to Philly), and they would allow 100 or more points only once for the rest of the season (on 4/2 in a win against Toronto, who seemed to have the Bulls number somewhat).

Hopefully Carlos Boozer will read the scouting report, and perhaps learn to play some defense on Tyler Hansbrough. In the Pacers win over Chicago, Hansbrough scored 29 points on 12 of 19 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds. Boozer didn’t play that game (Kurt Thomas started for him) but someone is going to have to stop Psycho-T, who came on very strong at the end of the season. Joakim Noah can’t guard Roy Hibbert and Hansbrough.

Boozer should also be a big help on the offensive side of the ball. In Chicago’s loss, Rose scored 42, Deng scored 21 and Noah added 17. The other two starters scored three points combined (all by Kurt Thomas, so thanks for playing Mr. Bogans). In his three games against Indiana this season, Boozington averaged 20 points and 11.3 rebounds.

In his postseason career Boozer has averaged 20.3 points, 12.5 rebounds on 50.3 percent shooting. Rose has averaged 22.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.8 assists. But expect those numbers to jump, because all of Rose’s numbers have jumped this season.

Almost everyone has the Bulls already written into the next round in marker. But Chicago knows they have to take it one game at a time.

“It’s no different. For us, it’s no different,” said Rose. “We’re going to prepare the same way. We’re going to practice the same way. (Coach Tom Thibodeau) always said at the beginning of the season that we were practicing to prepare like it’s the end of the season.”

Now it really could be the end of the season at any time. It’s first to four from here on out, and this game one could be the start of something very fun. Possibly something that goes on for a long time, maybe until sometime in June, and that ends with a parade.

About the Author:
Braedan Ritter was born and raised in Pennsylvania but was swayed by gifts from his aunt to follow the Chicago sports teams. It didn’t hurt that the Bulls had a guy named Michael Jordan playing for them, and the Sixers had…Derrick Coleman. Braedan has stuck with Chicago through thick and thin, and really thin (see: Chicago Cubs). And speaking of Coleman, Braedan is currently a student at Syracuse University.

11 Responses to First Round Game 1: Pacers-Bulls Preview

  1. Tae April 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Will you Bulls fan finally realize this is the true Boozer? You would’ve been ahead of the game if you actually watched some Jazz playoff games. The Bulls will win in spite of Boozer.

  2. Inception April 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    not surprised at the close result….surprised at how long IND controlled the game.

    nice wake-up call for CHI….you know Tibbs will be on them during the off-day….expecting a different CHI team from this point forward in this series….if not, we’re looking at a 6-7 game series.

  3. Inception April 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    and how bad did Booz play? not the reliable 2nd option you want….two thumbs down.

  4. adamzec@gmail.com'
    Adam April 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    That…was stressful. Good teams find a way to win but Rose is going to have to knock down some threes and Lu can’t go cold for more than half the game.

  5. cmb_55 April 16, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    anyone else think boozer is hurting us more then helping us? i know wat he is capable of but talk about inconsistency lol. still great game from drose and deng and noah showed back up at the end. great win just hope the rest of this series isnt this close lol

  6. Brian April 17, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    stressful is an under-statement. i felt like i was going to have a brain aneurisym watching that game. i feel like last night was a bad game for us between Boozer’s foul trouble, Deng going invisible for the first half, Rose’s poor 3-point shooting, and the failure to close out on midrange jumpers.

    these are all things that Thibs will look to correct. maybe set more plays for Deng, get D-Rose to take less PUJIT, and stress closeouts. as bad a game as this was for the Bulls, i think they’ll change a lot of things prior to game 2, and have a much stronger performance.

    and on the bright side, at least we didn’t drop game 1 like our supposed round 2 matchup, the Magic. i’ve mentioned it before, but they key to beating the Magic is defending the perimeter. Dwight might explode for some ridiculous stats, but if their shooters go cold, they tend to lose. hopefully they keep it up, as i think we match up better with Atlanta.

  7. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD April 17, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    The way to look at it…

    The Pacers hit us with everything they had, shooting well above what they should be capable of and getting almost every bounce. Meanwhile the Bulls fell into their typical pitfalls (playing down to their opponent, starting super slow). Despite all of that, and despite Indiana leading almost the entire 1st 41 minutes of the game, the Bulls *still* won the game.

  8. justin.zelones@bigpond.com'
    West Aussie Bulls Fan April 17, 2011 at 4:28 am #

    Agree with you BFD, that was the best the Pacers had and they still came up short. Good wake up call for the Bulls and further strengthens the DRose for MVP debate.

  9. Handkuft@yahoo.com'
    GotNext April 17, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Joakim Noah has 2 guns and he’s not afraid to use em

  10. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath April 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Not to mention, now Thibs has a whole new set of information. He will coach-crush them in the second game.

  11. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD April 17, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Another thing to keep in mind…

    The Heat nearly lost it to the Sixers

    The Hawks beat the Magic

    San Antonio lost to the Grizzlies

    The Lakers just lost to Chris Paul.

    These are the playoffs. Every team can be vulnerable on any given night…thats why its best of 7 instead of one and done.

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