After opening the NBA playoffs with an unexpectedly thrilling and drama-filled 48-minute affair, the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers return to the hardwood tonight for Game 2 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at the United Center.
Game 1 was dominated by the upstart Pacers — who finished 25 games behind the Bulls in the standings — for the first 46 minutes, as Indiana’s young core of Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Granger and Darren Collison wasn’t fazed by the playoff stage and a hostile environment.
The Pacers led for the entirety of the game, until Chicago — led by presumptive NBA MVP Derrick Rose — closed on a 16-1 run to earn a 104-99 victory. Rose finished the game with 39 points and six assists, receiving little help from his teammates.
While the Pacers know they let one slip away, they nonetheless should have an abundance of confidence going into Game 2 versus a Bulls team nobody gave them a chance against.
If Hansbrough (22 points in Game 1) and Granger (24 points) can give Indiana a similar effort in Game 2, the Pacers may be able to steal a game and head back to Indiana with an unlikely split.
Any fans who are looking to watch the Bulls vs Pacers tonight can tune into TNT at 9:30 ET.