INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Chicago’s fans traveled to Indiana by the thousands, planning to celebrate a first-round playoff victory at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Pacers sent them home disappointed, holding off a furious rally to beat the Bulls 89-84 on Saturday afternoon for their first playoff win since 2006. Chicago’s Carlos Boozer missed a 3-point attempt that could have tied the game with a second remaining.
The Bulls still lead the series 3-1 and will have a chance to close it out at home Tuesday.
Danny Granger scored 24 points for Indiana, which never trailed and finally broke through after losing the first three games by a combined 15 points.
Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who averaged 32.7 points in the first three games, finished with 15 points and 10 assists. He sprained his left ankle late in the first quarter and scored eight points on 3-for-16 shooting the rest of the way.
Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Chicago trailed 84-71 with 2:17 remaining before making a final rally.
A three-point play by Luol Deng cut Indiana’s lead to 84-77 with 1:36 to go. A goaltending call against Roy Hibbert on a shot by Boozer sliced the deficit to 84-79 with 46.5 seconds remaining, and a steal and dunk by Rose pulled the Bulls within 84-81.
Mike Dunleavy hit the second of two free throws with 17.9 seconds left to make it 85-81.
Noah made a layup with 15.3 seconds remaining, and Jeff Foster fouled him while trying to take a charge. Noah made the free throw to cut Indiana’s lead to 85-84.
The Pacers barely got the ball inbounds, but Granger was fouled with 14.1 seconds left. Through a booing crowd on his home court, Granger made both free throws to make it 87-84.
Boozer’s 3-point try from the left corner was short, and Granger rebounded. Granger made two free throws with a second remaining to close the deal.
The Bulls shot just 38 percent.
Rose came up hobbling after going for a layup against Darren Collison. Rose went to the locker room briefly before returning to the bench. He came back into the game with 10:29 left in the second quarter.
Indiana closed the first half on a 17-3 run to take a 49-33 lead at the break. Ten different Pacers scored before halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Hibbert blocked Rose on a layup attempt. Granger collected the rebound then dribbled nearly the length of the floor for a layup to give the Pacers a 55-37 lead.
Notes: The league upgraded two of Foster’s hits from Thursday’s game to flagrant 1 fouls. Pacers coach Frank Vogel said before the game he had no reaction to it. … All four games at Conseco Fieldhouse between the Bulls and Pacers this season were sellouts. The Pacers, including the playoffs, had only eight sellouts all year. … The Pacers wore gold jerseys instead of their usual home whites.