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Playoff Box Score: Bulls Take 3-0 Series Lead

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 22, 2011 2:44PM

The Bulls took a commanding 3-0 series lead with their 88-84 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse. Last night's game was another tightly contested, physical game, and the Bulls are in a position to sweep the series.

The Pacers stepped up the physicality last night with hard fouls and more aggressiveness on the boards. At times, we felt like we were watching a flashback to playoff series with the "Bad Boy" Detroit Pistons or New York Knicks in the 90's. The two teams each grabbed 42 rebounds, after the Bulls had dominated the boards in the first two contests. Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 11 boards, but he scored only 4 points in another disappointing offensive performance for the power forward. Joakim Noah added 10 rebounds along with 11 points. Luol Deng was again the second scoring option with 21 points to go along with six rebounds and six assists, while Derrick Rose's 4-18 shooting from the field resulted in the MVP-hopeful scoring only 23 points after averaging over 37 in the first two games.

Danny Granger led the Pacers with 21 points.

Unlike the first two games in Chicago where they played from behind, the Bulls managed to maintain a lead for much of the game, although rarely more than a couple points. A four point lead at the end of the first quarter was erased and the game went into intermission tied at 42. Neither team pulled away by more than three points in the third, the Bulls holding a one point lead when the horn sounded. Indiana clawed back to take a five point lead early in the fourth, but the Bulls used a 10-0 run capped by a Kyle Korver three pointer to turn a 70-65 deficit into a 75-70 lead. The Pacers evened the game at 84 with less than two minutes to play. Rose's first field goal of the second half, where he beat Dahntay Jones off the dribble and got a rare clean shot at the basket for a layup with 17.8 seconds, put the Bulls on top for good. Indiana couldn't answer, with Granger throwing up an ugly three-point attempt. A pair of Bulls free throws with a second left sealed the victory.

The Bulls now go for the sweep Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis (1:30 p.m. CDT - TNT & CSN | ESPN 1000 AM)