NBA Playoffs – First Round – Game 4:
The Chicago Bulls once again came out struggling early in the game. But this time, they would run out of luck in the closing minutes despite a valiant effort from Joakim Noah to trim an 18-point deficit down to one point in the final seconds of the game.
The Bulls failed to execute their offense in Game 4. And the Pacers would begin to pull away after Derrick Rose turned his ankle on a driving lay-in. The Pacers started to get hot offensively and were once again capitalizing on Bulls’ turnovers.
Rose’s injury would be evaluated and ruled as an ankle sprain, but he did manage to return to action. But the lift on his jump-shot was not present and neither was his explosiveness. He was visibly unable to punch through the holes in the Indiana defense at will.
He would end the game with 15 points, 10 assists and four steals but shot a miserable 6-of-22.
Joakim Noah was a man on a mission and carried the Bulls with 21 points and 14 rebounds. He was instrumental in the Bulls’ comeback efforts. He managed to get Chicago within one after completing a three-point play.
However, Indiana managed to inbound the ball into Danny Granger on the next possession and the Pacers extended the lead back up to 87-84. Carlos Boozer was left to take a desperation three-pointer from the corner but the shot and the Bulls’ hopes of sweeping the series fell short.
The final score was 89-84 in the Pacers’ favor as the Bulls’ lead in the series falls to 3-1.
Carlos Boozer has not had a good series. He again had four turnovers and failed to get really established offensively on the low-block. When Boozer is not playing well offensively, it does not do the Bulls many favors to have him on the floor at all.
This Bulls’ loss snaps an 12-game winning streak— dating back to the regular season.
It would have been nice to finish off the series in Game 4 to allow Rose to rest his ankle. But perhaps this loss came at the perfect time to give the Bulls’ a wake-up call so they can realize that they need Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer to become more assertive offensively instead of trying to mount a desperate comeback in the closing minutes— as opposed to losing a game to the Orlando Magic or Atlanta Hawks in the next round.
The Bulls will host the Pacers Tuesday for the critical Game 5 of their first round series.
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I was rooting for the Bulls to make a comeback. If they did, it would have probably been the most competitive sweep in the playoffs in the last 20 years. The Pacers are putting up a good fight, so I guess it will be the most competitive 5-game series in the last 20 years.