The Indiana Pacers fans were as amped as they could be to have the playoffs back in Indiana since 2006. With the way the Pacers have been playing keeping the series so close the fans looked for the Pacers to still this third game.
Conseco Fieldhouse was rocking as the Indiana Pacers (37-45) hosted the Chicago Bulls (62-20) for game three. The Pacers lost game one by five, game two by six, and turned around and lost game three by just four, 88-84.
Darren Collison was game time decision to play for the Pacers after turning his ankle in game two, but he started last night and played 34 minutes.
Danny Granger opened the game with a three-pointer Pacers, but the Bulls scored the next seven points to take a early 7-3 lead. Indiana tied the game up at seven with a Danny Granger jumper. Chicago got a layup from Joakim Noah and a three-pointer from Luol Deng to get a 12-7 lead and force Indiana to take a early timeout.
The Bulls kept the lead throughout the first quarter and the first quarter with a 21-17 lead after Derrick Rose made a three-pointer to end the period.
Both team started out trading baskets to begin the second quarter, but the Bulls came out with a one point lead 27-26 before the Chicago Bulls took a timeout. The pacers tied the game up at 30 points apiece with a Danny Granger jumper, but Luol Deng responded for the Bulls with a three-pointer to give them a three-point lead.
The Pacers went on a quick 8-0 spurt to take a 38-33 lead with 3:19 left in the half. Chicago took a two point lead when Derrick Rose made a three-pointer with .31 seconds left 42-40. Darren Collison made a jumper with .8 seconds left to tie the game up at 42 points apiece going into the half.
Keith Bogans opened the third quarter with a three-pointer to give the Bulls a 45-42 lead. The Bulls had a 47-46 lead before Darren Collison made two jumpers to take a 50-47 lead. Chicago took the lead 51-50 before the Indiana Pacers called a timeout with 5:58 left in the game.
The Bulls got a three-pointer from Keith Bogans to give them a 57-54 point lead. Darren Collison made a free-throw, and Jeff Foster made a jumper to tie the game up at 59 points apiece. Luol Deng made a jumper with .44 seconds left to give the Bulls a 65-62 lead. A pair of Mike Dunleavy free-throws cut the Bulls lead to one to end the quarter.
The game got chippy in the third quarter when Jeff Foster gave Derrick Rose a hard foul as he drove to the basket. This is the second time the Pacers gave Rose a hard foul, the first time was when Tyler Hansbrough did it in game one, and who was also in on this foul also.
The fourth quarter began and the Pacers took a 68-65 lead with a Dahntay Jones jumper. Chicago then tied the game up at 70 points apiece when Derrick Rose made a pair of free-throws. The Bulls got two three-pointers from Kyle Korver to give them a 78-74 lead. The Pacers battled back to tie the game up at 84 points apiece with a 1:42 left in the game.
Both teams struggled with making baskets late till Derrick Rose drove to the basket and made a Driving layup over three Pacers. Rose’s layup gave the Bulls an 86-84 lead and forced the Pacers to call a timeout. The Pacers ran a play to try and get Danny Granger open for a three-pointer, but he missed it and the Bulls got the rebound. Ronnie Brewer made a pair of free-throws to seal the game 88-84.
Derrick Rose was only 4-18 from the field but went 13-15 from the free-throw line to lead the Bulls with 23 points.
Luol Deng scored 21 points with six assists and rebounds. Joakim Noah had 11 points with 10 rebounds and four blocks, and Carlos Boozer had 11 rebounds with just four points.
Kyle Korver came off the bench to score 12 points and went 2-3 from behind the arc.
Danny Granger led the Pacers with 21 points, and Tyler Hansbrough went 3-12 to score 10 points. Dahntay Jones was the second leading scorer for the Pacers as he came off the bench to score 11 points. Paul George had 12 rebounds, but only scored six points. Darren Collison was not that productive as he only scored nine points.
The Bulls now own a 3-0 lead and no team have come back from three down to win the series. Game four can be the last game of the series on Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 2:30 PM (EST), but if the Pacers do pull off a victory the series will head back to the United Center next week.