NBA Playoffs 2011: 5 Biggest Plays of Chicago Bulls/Indiana Pacers Series
Though it has been entertaining, the Bulls have managed to pull out the first three games despite being outplayed for most of the first two games.
Here is a look at the five plays that have eventually made the difference.
1. Kyle Korver Hits a Three to Win Game One
The Bulls had just gone down by 10 two and a half minutes before this, and Derrick Rose brought them all the way back to tie. With just under a minute to go, Rose drove to the basket, bringing four of the Pacers with him. As all true winners do, Rose made the play that had to be made when it had to be made and hit a wide open Korver for the go ahead bucket.
Many analysts made the comparison between this pass and a few of Jordan's passes to Paxson and Kerr, which is ridiculous. However, it was a huge shot made by one of the NBA's best shooters during the fourth quarter this year, and it clinched the most important game in any series, Game 1.
2. Derrick Rose Blocks Layup and Scores in Transition
Darren Collison had a fantastic game one, but what people who don't watch the games miss is that since this play, he has been more tentative driving to the basket on Derrick Rose.
Even on the play that he was hurt on in game two was an example of this, as he seemed to avoid putting the shot up directly and looked to create contact, which caused him to be off balance when he landed. Since getting blocked on this play, he became more of a jump shooter and less of a driver.
As the video shows, fast don't lie...
3. Derrick Rose Wins Game Three with Tough Layup.
Despite shooting 3-17 to this point and struggling to get to the rim all night, Rose responded when he had to and made an MVP play when his team needed it.
Facing double teams and different defenders all night,and now facing, arguably, the best defender the Pacers have in Dahntay Jones, Rose went to the basket, took the contact and finished the game.
4. Tyler Hansbrough Steals Ball and Dunks
I think this play is big for two reasons.
The first is it is the type of play that shows the energy and intensity that the Pacers have played with in this series. It shows that the Bulls can't fall asleep on the Pacers at all and that they are in a dog fight.
But it also fired up the Bulls. Hansbrough and the Pacers celebrating on their home floor like the game was over didn't sit right, and you could see a different Derrick Rose when he came back on the floor. I have wondered a lot this week whether the Bulls would have played differently if Hansbrough hadn't celebrated like he did after the dunk.
5. Luol Deng Follows Bogans Miss with Lay In.
It seems like a fairly rudimentary play, but for fans of the Bulls or people who just watch them often know, the Bulls need Luol Deng to have more games like he did Thursday for them to advance deep into the playoffs.
Much has been made over the last few years of the size of Deng's contract and now is the time for him to earn it and take the pressure off of Rose to preform. If Deng and Boozer can consistently contribute, teams will be less likely to trap Rose so far out.
Can the Pacers Avoid the Sweep?
The Pacers need everyone on their roster to step up and have their best games of the season Saturday, or this series will not go back to Chicago.
Most importantly, they need Granger to play within the offense and not take as many bad shots. Yes, they often go in, but that doesn't make them good shots. That final possession at the end of game 3 is a perfect example, as it cannot possibly be the play that Frank Vogel drew up on the sideline and it was a terrible shot taken when the Pacers only needed a two and Granger was falling to his left.
Those plays cost the Pacers so much and they will need a perfect game to hope to go back to Chicago.