CHICAGO — It took one more game than should have, but it happened nonetheless. The Chicago Bulls are the second team in the Eastern Conference to advance to the second round with a 116 – 89 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5.
The game went the way everyone thought the first four games would go with Chicago dominating the whole game.
It was 84-65 going into the fourth quarter, the first time Chicago has led going into the fourth quarter in the last three games. A big part of this was the unit play of the Bulls as they were finally operating as a whole rather than as a supporting cast to Derrick Rose. All the Bulls starters hot double digits with the notable exception of Carlos Boozer who played just 16 minutes.
He was replaced on the court by Taj Gibson who finished the game with double digit points as well.
Boozer ran into early foul trouble again in Game 5, racking up 3 with just 6:38 left in the second. Boozer hit the bench again after picking up his fourth Personal Foul in the 3rd.
He wasn’t the only Bull who got into foul trouble. Derrick Rose picked up his 5th Personal in the 4th and Joakim Noah picked up his fourth in the same quarter. But they were both productive on the night which is the major difference between the three and their trouble with fouls.
Rose had 25 points and Noah had 14 with 4 blocks and 8 rebounds.
Boozer had 2 points in 16 minutes.
The Pacers also used up fouls but theirs were late game fouls out of frustration. The most egregious of which was Josh McRoberts throwing an elbow to Joakim Noah at the end of the third. McRoberts was subsequently ejected to the roar of the United Center crowd.
His exit was symbolic of the Pacers who never had a chance in the fourth and basically left the game with McRoberts. Indiana didn’t have a chance from tip off for that matter as they never once led.
The Bulls defense is much to credit for this. It was a block-fest in Chicago on Tuesday as the Bulls amassed 9 blocks between five players. Joakim Noah had 4 all to himself and Derrick Rose had a crowd boosting block of a Roy Hibbert shot when Rose reentered the game off the bench on the third.
Luol Deng was on fire on Game 5 as well scoring 24 and gobbling up 6 rebounds with 7 assists. The Bulls brought in the Bench Mob for a majority of the fourth as the Bulls eclipsed 100. The Bulls hit a record 14 three pointers in the game.
This is the way the Bulls should have played this series from the start. They were in control and there was never any doubt as to who would win this game once it became a 12-2 Bulls lead to start the game.
Next up for Chicago will most likely be the Atlanta Hawks as they own a 3-1 series lead over the. Magic. Although Orlando won tonight, it appears they are pulling what the Pacers pulled and only prolonging the inevitable.
But Chicago seems to finally have their groove back. The only problem remains Boozer and his nack for fouling at the complete wrong times. But the Bulls will have some time to work everything out as they have finally closed out the Pacers in impressive fashion. They will host the Hawks or Magic at the United Center Monday.
All the Bulls haters must heed their words for now as the Bulls are in the second round.