Rose, Bulls oust Pacers
The top-seeded Bulls can breathe a little easier after getting a dominant performance by their MVP candidate and an emphatic win that came on the heels of four dramatic games.
They can also turn their attention to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they’ll meet Atlanta or Orlando.
Rose seemed just fine after spraining his left ankle in Game 4, hitting 8 of 17 shots. He dominated in the early going and came up big in the third after the Pacers pulled within four. He scored 10 points over the final six minutes, and Chicago ended the quarter on a 23-8 run to blow the game open.
The Bulls hit 14 of 31 three-pointers, including five by Keith Bogans (15 points) and three each by Deng and Rose. Deng also had seven assists and six rebounds.
Joakim Noah added 14 points and eight rebounds, and the Bulls won a playoff series for the first time since they swept Miami in the first round in 2007 even though Carlos Boozer scored just two.
Danny Granger scored 20 for the Pacers. Tyler Hansbrough added 14 points and 11 rebounds, but the Pacers trailed the entire way and committed 21 turnovers.
The Pacers had just scored seven straight to pull within 61-57 midway through the third when Rose and the Bulls put them away.
Things took a nasty turn in the closing seconds when Josh McRoberts threw an elbow at Noah and got ejected.
McRoberts swung his right elbow at Noah and missed, but he got called for the flagrant foul 2 and got tossed.
Noah hit both free throws with 2.5 seconds left to make it 84-65.
n Magic 101, Hawks 76—Jason Richardson scored 17 points and J.J. Redick added 14 to help the Magic stay alive in the playoffs with a victory over the Hawks.
The win kept alive the Magic’s hopes of becoming the ninth team in NBA history to win a playoff series after trailing 3-1. If they can win Game 6 Thursday in Atlanta, they would host Game 7 on Saturday.
Magic center Dwight Howard battled foul trouble throughout the night and had just one field goal, finishing with 8 points and 8 rebounds. Orlando didn’t need his offense, though, as it broke out of a series-long shooting slump with 11 three-pointers.
“We’re a good shooting team,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “This is more of us than what we showed in the first four games ... This isn’t an aberration. We’ve been doing this for four years. The first four games were the aberration.”
Josh Smith scored 22 points to lead Atlanta.
The Magic cruised in the second half, allowing Howard to log his first extended rest of the series in the fourth quarte.
In a short turnaround following his team’s loss in Game 4, Van Gundy preached patience over panic to his team. It paid off in a big way as Orlando was unselfish in its half court sets and passed the ball to free up its shooters.
That allowed the Magic to push the pace and keep the game up tempo.
The Hawks have won every game with the Magic this season in which it kept them under 90 points.