Despite give their best effort and making all three games to this point competitive, the Indiana Pacers are still standing on the brink of elimination in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
Thanks to the Chicago Bulls and their suffocating defense at the end of games, Indiana’s solid play in the first three quarters of every game in this series has gone to waste. So, now the question is, does Indiana have enough left in the tank to steal a game in this series?
Why the Bulls Will Win
Because Derrick Rose is a man possessed, and Kyle Korver keeps coming up clutch in the fourth quarter. These two guys have a connection on offense when everything is on the line, and it’s no longer a coincidence or luck. When Rose is double-teamed at the end of games in these playoffs, he’s on the search for Korver, and Korver continues to be ready with a deadly outside shot.
While Rose and Korver aren’t all that make Chicago go, they’re all that really matter in this series. Rose has orchestrated three magnificent games in this series, with Korver playing some type of helping hand in the final minutes. As long as Chicago’s star and most impactful role player are on top of their game in Game Four, Chicago wins.
Why the Pacers Will Win
They’re at home and they’ve been so close, so you’d think the Pacers could grind out one win in front of their home crowd. But can they really? Absolutely. The only real problem for Indiana in this series has been the inability to seal the deal and execute in the final minutes. They realistically could be 3-0 in this series, but they don’t have that killer instinct and execution on both sides of the ball that Chicago has displayed.
One thing that could help change that (if only for one game) is if Danny Granger gets more aggressive at the end of another close game, and instead of just jacking up jumpers, simply makes offense happen. He’s Indiana’s only real go-to scorer, so a win may hang to his ability to turn it on finally when it matters most.
Experts everywhere were calling sweep before the series started, and now you’d have to agree. Indiana deserves major credit for hanging in all three of these games, but they clearly are a level below the Bulls when it comes to closing games out. They simply don’t have the proper focus and execution to stop the Bulls right now.
Bulls 89, Pacers 83