Schedule released for Bulls-Pacers playoff series

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Schedule released for Bulls-Pacers playoff series

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Posted: 1:00 p.m. Updated 11:55 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Bulls announced that Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series against the Indiana Pacers will begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. Game 1 from the United Center will be aired live on Comcast SportsNet.

Now that the regular season is complete, ever-focused Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau allowed himselfand his playersthe pleasure of looking ahead to the Bulls first-round opponent, Central Division rival Indiana.

Theyre playing well. They can put a lot of points up on the board and they have a little bit of everything, said Thibodeau, who tied the record for most wins by a first-year NBA head coach. We had a pretty good regular season.

All-Star point guard Derrick Rose agreed, referencing the Bulls loss to the Pacers the last time the two squads played, an overtime loss in Indiana.

They play together, they play hard, said Rose. Anytime you play against a team like that, you never know whats going to happen.

Joakim Noah chose to focus on the elevated atmosphere surrounding the postseason.

Its just a whole different environment. Were playing for something big. This is what its all about. Your whole life, you dream about playing on the big stage and it doesnt get much bigger than that, said Noah. Everything is magnified. Its a different game, but weve been preparing for it all year. Were not going to change much.

The regular season is over with. We had a great regular season, great team effort, but as a team, I think we have to come into this, the playoffs, and just forget about the seeding. Just locking into Indiana and really focus on Indiana, respect them and come out, and try to beat them. We cant come in with the mindset that were a higher seed, were a better team. We cant do that. Weve just got to come and play, said Deng. Its a different ballgame now. Its the playoffs. Its zero-zero.

Deng, who will be matched up with Pacers leading scorer Danny Grangerwho made comments likening the Bulls to a one-man gang (as in Rose) and preferring to play Chicago over Bostonrefused to take the bait when asked about his fellow small forwards comments.

Im not that guy, said Deng. Its not about me and Danny Granger.

Hes got to back it up now. I dont think theyre going to shut down Derrick, but I guess thats their game plan, he continued. Comments made by one guy doesnt really make a difference about what were trying to do here.

Noahtypically less reserved than his teammatechimed in: Slow him down, then.

Its easy to talk about it. I havent seen too many people slow him down yet. Maybe he can do it, he added.

As for Rose himself, he appeared nonplussed when informed of his USA Basketball teammates opinion.

Thats his opinion. Ive got winners on my team, said Rose. Well be preparedI know Ive got other guys on my team that can play basketball.

Chicago won the season series vs. Indiana, 3-1. The loss was their only defeat by a division opponent back on March 18. Derrick Rose scored 42 points, but the Bulls gave up 115 and fell in overtime.

On Jan. 29, Luol Deng had one of his best all-around games and Ronnie Brewer threw down a poster-dunk in a 110-89 win.

On Jan. 14, Derrick Rose produced a double-double with 29 points and 10 rebounds in the Bulls' 99-86 win in Indiana.

Here is the schedule for the first-round series:

Series schedule

Date Time Location TV Game 1: Sat., April 16 12 p.m.
Chicago CSN Game 2: Mon., April 18 8:30 p.m.
Chicago CSN Game 3: Thur., April 21 6:00 p.m.
Indiana
CSN
Game 4: Sat., April 23 1:30 p.m.
Indiana
CSN Game 5: Tue., April 26
TBD Chicago CSN Game 6: Thu., April 28
TBD
Indiana
CSN Game 7: Sat., April 30
TBD Chicago
CSN-if necessary

Bulls: Could a knee injury have slowed Jimmy Butler in the fourth quarter against Celtics?

Bulls: Could a knee injury have slowed Jimmy Butler in the fourth quarter against Celtics?

As Jimmy Butler sat with his sweat-soaked jersey still attached to his body, Dwyane Wade yelled out that all the hot water was gone from the TD Garden showers, a fitting end to a miserable night.

Butler hadn't yet gone to the showers because electrodes were attached to his knees, but it was the left one that prevented him from being as aggressive as he should have been in the Bulls' 108-97 loss to the Celtics on Wednesday night.

Butler's 30-foot buzzer-beater to end the third quarter seemed to indicate a harbinger of things to come, giving the Bulls an 81-79 lead. A fourth-quarter explosion likely would have sent the Bulls back to Chicago with a 3-2 lead and a chance to clinch the series at home Friday night.

But he could only muster two shots and barely seemed to push off on his left foot—his lead foot, and it hampered what the Bulls could do late as he was their prime fourth-quarter performer.

He couldn't even go straight up on a jumper over the diminutive Isaiah Thomas without pump-faking, throwing off his rhythm. He wouldn't elaborate on the injury, although he said it happened during the second half of Game 4 on Sunday night when he collided with a Celtics player.

"I'm good. Everyone's a little nicked up; I'll be all right," Butler said in the locker room.

Going 6-for-15 overall, one would have thought Butler was conserving his energy, but he clearly didn't have his usual spunk. It was partly the reason Dwyane Wade took over more, with 26 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, but having Butler around could have helped close a game that got away from them in a four-minute stretch where the Bulls lost their composure.

Wade has had to play through his share of injuries during his career, and although he wouldn't divulge whatever Butler was going through, it seemed as if they had a conversation about managing his body.

"We've talked about it. When you've had any limitations no matter what, at this time of year people are banged-up," Wade said. "It's expected. But we have to do a better job of putting him in different places on the basketball floor.

"I don't know exactly what he's going through or what he's feeling, but it's tough when you are, and you try to beat a guy from halfcourt to the rim, or three defenders. So we've got to a better job of finding areas for him to work without having to work so hard. That's on all of us."

Bulls Talk Podcast: Breaking down the Game 5 loss

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Breaking down the Game 5 loss

Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue analyze Game 5 between the Bulls and Celtics, how the Bulls can correct their mistakes for Friday night and whether Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade have enough left in the tank to win two straight against the top seed in the Eastern Conference.