Writing was on the wall in Bulls win

April, 16, 2011
4/16/11
4:56
PM ET
By ESPN Stats & Info
ESPN.com
Archive
On the surface, the Chicago Bulls' comeback in Game 1 on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers was jarring.

But a look deeper proves that you should have expected it all along.

The Bulls had the NBA's best fourth-quarter scoring differential this season at +187 -- 68 points better than any other team in the league. Meanwhile, the Pacers were -126 in fourth quarters, ranking 28th in the NBA (only the Raptors and Timberwolves were worse).

Chicago won four games this season when it trailed by eight or more entering the final quarter. Combining the regular season with this very young postseason, the Bulls are now tied with the Mavericks for the most wins this season when trailing entering the fourth, with 12.

The Bulls began their closing run with two Luol Deng free throws with 3:28 remaining. From that point forward the Pacers didn't make a field goal while the Bulls went 5-of-8 from the field and 5-of-6 at the free throw line.

The Bulls took their first lead of the game when Kyle Korver hit a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left. That's classic Korver. The former Creighton star made 58 three-point field goals in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, tops in the NBA.

But you want to hear about Derrick Rose and how he put his team on his back for the win while pouring in 39 points. Nineteen of his points came from the charity stripe, the most by a player in a playoff game since Kobe Bryant in 2008 (21).

With 4:52 remaining in the game and the Bulls trailing by five, Luol Deng picked up a technical foul. Deng appeared to spark his All-Star teammate as Rose single-handily outscored the Pacers the rest of the way. He either scored or assisted on 14 of the Bulls' final 18 points.

There's still room to improve for the 2011 MVP candidate. Rose scored 35 of his 39 points either at the free-throw line or on field goals inside of 10 feet of the basket. He was 2-11 from outside 10 feet Saturday and came up empty on all nine of his three-point attempts. Only two other players in the last 20 postseasons have attempted at least nine trifectas and made none. Rashard Lewis was the last in 2008 and the other was John Starks, who famously went 0-11 in Game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals.

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