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Derrick Rose’s 36 points send Bulls to 2-0 series lead over Pacers

Bulls guard Derrick Rose takes ball hoop as he is defended by Indianforward Paul George 2nd quarter an NBA playoff

Bulls guard Derrick Rose takes the ball to the hoop as he is defended by Indiana forward Paul George in the 2nd quarter in an NBA playoff game featuring the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers in game two; round one April 18, 2011 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 21, 2012 9:58PM



Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel may have stumbled upon a way to stop Derrick Rose.

Praise him.

Asked about Vogel’s comment that Rose has ‘‘Allen Iverson’s speed, Jason Kidd’s vision, Chauncey Billups’ shooting and Michael Jordan’s athleticism,’’ Rose looked like a deer in headlights.

‘‘I don’t know why he did that,’’ said the Bulls’ modest star, who never has looked that uncomfortable against a stacked defense. ‘‘I really didn’t like it. I didn’t do anything in this league yet. To compare me to those players, I’m not there yet.’’

Fortunately for Rose and his teammates, the Kryptonite compliment didn’t work
between the lines at the United Center on Monday night. Looking very unbashful on the hardwood, Rose led the Bulls past the Pacers 96-90. The win, their 11th straight, gives them a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven first-round series.

Coming off a playoff career-high 39 points in the opener, Rose had 36 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

‘‘He just made big play after big play,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. ‘‘He just kept attacking. He had a lot of pressure on him, and he made the right plays, the right decisions.’’

Forward Carlos Boozer, who was under the microscope after a foul-addled first game, came back strong in Game 2 with 17 points and 16 rebounds, including 13 and nine in the first half. Danny Granger led the Pacers with 19 points.

The Bulls survived despite shooting only 38.6 percent and committing 21 turnovers.

‘‘We have to do a much better job of taking care of the ball,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘They’re defending well, and we’re holding on to the ball. [Turnovers are] usually a result of too much one-on-one and risky passes.’’

Down 78-76, the Bulls scored seven straight points to take an 83-78 lead on the pesky Pacers. Rose scored on a three-point drive, Joakim Noah found Boozer open in the post, and Rose added a pull-up jumper at the end of the run.

Still, the Pacers would not go away. Kyle Korver’s three-pointer finally gave the Bulls some breathing room, 90-85, with 1:04 left.

‘‘It’s always good to win,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘You can never lose sight of that. But the good teams are able to make corrections after a win. Hopefully, we’re one of those teams. We’re going to have to play much better in Indiana.’’

Asked if his team will be ready for Game 3, Indiana coach Frank Vogel said, ‘‘Do you guys have any question about that? I don’t.

‘‘We stand toe-to-toe with this team. I’m proud of our guys. We’ll take it back to Indy and see what happens.’’

The Bulls’ comeback from 98-88 with 3:38 left to win 104-99 in Game 1 on Saturday marked the first time in seven years that an NBA team had come back from a double-digit deficit in the final four minutes of a playoff game.

The Bulls weren’t looking for a repeat of those dramatics in Game 2. But all things considered, this game was
awfully close for comfort.

‘‘Struggling? Indiana’s a good team,’’ Noah said. ‘‘They have a lot of talent. We knew this wasn’t going to be a cakewalk. Everybody acts like it’s supposed to be. We definitely have some issues we have to clean up. I’ll take 2-0 any day.’’

After being down 47-44 at halftime, the Bulls went ahead 52-49, their first lead since 12-10, when Rose drained a three-pointer with 8:22 to go in the third quarter.

The Pacers clearly missed point guard Darren Collison, who was sidelined by a sprained left ankle 21/2 minutes before halftime. The Pacers were up 45-36 at that point. They would not lead by that much again.

The Bulls had promised to play better defense, and they did. But the game still was a struggle. As Thibodeau mentioned, a key problem was that when they had the ball, they
often looked like Bulls in a china shop.

Credit Indiana for again looking very aggressive, especially for a young No. 8 seed on the road against a No. 1 seed that’s a tough-as-nails 36-5 at home.



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