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Bulls Tue Apr 19 2011

Bulls Fend Off Another Push From Pacers

If this series was supposed to be easy, as some people (like me) thought, I guess we forgot to let the Pacers know. Behind 19 points from Danny Granger and contributions from everyone else, Indiana hung with the Bulls through all 48 minutes of Monday's Game Two before Chicago escaped again, winning 96-90 at the United Center.

bulls pacers vertical.PNGDerrick Rose once again poured it on with 36 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. He got more help this time from Carlos Boozer (17 points, 16 rebounds), but Luol Deng needed 13 shots to score 14 points.

Unlike Saturday's opener, controlled by Indiana before a big Chicago comeback, neither team was able to get much of a stranglehold on their opponent throughout the entire game. Modest leads by both teams were never able to stick, and it wasn't until another wide-open Kyle Korver three in the final minute that Chicago had the chance to finish off the game. Their fantastic foul shooting contributed to the win as well, as the Bulls made their last 16 shots from the line.

Boozer's play was a welcome sight to see, particularly his effort on the boards, leading Chicago to a 57-33 rebounding advantage Joakim Noah added 10 rebounds of his own, making up for his 2-for-10 shooting.

But on the negative side of things, the only reason the Pacers were in this game as long as they were was because of turnovers. It's no use pulling down 24 more rebounds than the other team if you're going to give the ball right back to them 22 times.

That's the highest number of turnovers the Bulls have had all season, besting a mark of 21 that was reached a few times, most recently against Orlando a week ago. The Pacers trapped Rose frequently, shaking up Chicago's offense and forcing Rose into six turnovers.

Indiana also got a bit unlucky with the loss of starting point guard Darren Collison, who sprained his ankle in the second quarter and was unable to return. Still, if they had a star half as talented as Rose, you have to believe the Pacers might have won one of these first two games. Once again, coach Tom Thibodeau will have some film to dissect for his team before Thursday's Game Three in Indianapolis.

Chicago will need to be a lot more careful on the road; if Pacers' fans have been paying any attention they'll know their team is capable of beating the Bulls. Should they show up with full throats, the Bulls will find the going even tougher than it has been at home.

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