It's a sight the city of Indianapolis hasn't seen in 13 years. A number-one seed Chicago Bulls team. A potential most valuable player candidate. A sea of red shirts and jerseys taking up half the stands.
The difference from then and now? It was the Pacers (30-39) on the dominating end of a huge 115-108 victory Friday night at Conseco Fieldhouse, dropping the Bulls to a (49-19) record.
Coming off a disappointing performance in Boston (92-80 loss) Wednesday night, the Pacers returned home with a fresh new energy and vigor in front of a sold-out crowd. Led by Tyler Hansbrough's 29 points and 12 rebounds, the sixth time in seven games he's scored 20-plus points, the Pacers jumped out to a 31-21 lead and never failed to lead for the remainder of the game.
The loss for the Bulls ended an eight-game win streak, with Chicago looking tired from back-to-back road games after an 84-73 victory in New Jersey Thursday night. Fans who packed the house wearing their #1 Derrick Rose jersey saw an impressive night from the rising superstar, who finished with 42 points and 4 rebounds, and 2 assists before fouling out with 24.4 seconds left in overtime.
Rose didn't disappoint with a highlight reel spin-move up and under lay-up during the third quarter that made the score 70-56, and also hit a three-pointer to bring Chicago within ten at the 7:18 mark.
Chicago had their opportunities but failed to bring the lead into striking distance, missing four-straight attempts behind the arc from Rose, Korver, and Deng, and it seemed like the Pacers would roll through the fourth.
Rose, however, would answer with seven straight points on the following three Bulls possessions, making the score 98-92. But a missed lay-up by Taj Gibson led to a Tyler Hansbrough offensive rebound and jump-shot on the opposite end, but the Bulls weren't done yet.
Rose converted a three-point play to bring Chicago within two at 100-98 with 1:20 to go, finishing with 16 points in the fourth, and just missed a three to tie the game with 23 seconds to go at 102-99.
Following a Darren Collison pass that was fumbled by Hansbrough, the Bulls had one last shot after taking a time-out with 6.9 seconds to go. But after drawing contact on a three-point shot at the buzzer, Rose tied the game 102-102 with 1.2 seconds left. Rose then continued his Superman impersonation, blocking Danny Granger's potential game-winning shot to send the game into overtime.
Hansbrough made the first bucket of overtime and then stripped Rose on the following possession, finding Collison on a fast-break to take a 106-102 lead, and the Pacers never looked back.
With a bandage over his left-eye, Pacers Point Guard Darren Collison took advantage of Rose's sometimes inadequate defense, finishing with 17 points and 8 assists on the night. Danny Granger finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds on the night before fouling out in overtime.
Indiana travels to Memphis tomorrow night to play the Grizzlies.