Tyler Hansbrough had another big night, putting up 29 points and twelve rebounds. (AP Photo/Tom Strickland)
The Indiana Pacers knew they were in for a tough one as they were hosting the Chicago Bulls at Conseco Fieldhouse. With MVP candidate Derrick Rose here, Pacers had to stop him. They couldn’t. Rose had 42 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Bulls fell in overtime, 115-108. The 42 points was Rose’s career-high. He would go for 19 points in the fourth quarter.

The Pacers were coming off a loss to Boston, and they needed to keep getting wins to keep an eighth seed, which they are ahead in now with the Charlotte Bobcats (28-40) and the Milwaukee Bucks (27-41) behind them. The Pacers have reached the 30-win mark finally and improve their record to 30-39.

Derrick Rose would need to tie the game after a Darren Collison turnover that set up a play for Rose. Rose would commit a foul on Collison behind the three-point line with no time left and a chance to tie the game to send it into overtime. Rose hit all three free throws, but as overtime rolled by, it was over. The Pacers rolled.

“I’ve seen a lot of teams that would have sort of come out in that overtime in a fog after that type of comeback by Chicago,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “Our guys didn’t do that. They kept their composure, their poise and handled their business in overtime.”

Roy Hibbert helped out with 15 points and seven rebounds as Indiana leads farther more into the eighth seed race. (AP Photo/Tom Strickland)
Even in Conseco Fieldhouse, people were giving MVP chants for the young point guard out of Memphis.

“He carried them all season, he has my MVP vote,” Danny Granger said, who had 19 points and six rebounds, along with a key shot in overtime to officially end the game. “I think he’s probably the most dominant player we’ve played against this year.”

Collison would have 17 points and eight assists. Roy Hibbert had a good night as well, getting 15 points and seven rebounds. Hibbert must love it all that he is not the only big man doing work anymore. He finally has a lot of help down low with the emergence of Tyler Hansbrough. Hansbrough’s last four games have phenomenal, having 29 points and 30 versus New York, then ten points and eleven rebounds against Boston, and now 29 and twelve here back at home.

In overtime, Granger hit a big three-pointer to bring the lead up to 109-102. Rose would respond with a lay-up a few points afterward to cut the lead to 111-108. Josh McRoberts would go for a dunk on the next possession, but would get fouled by Rose there to give him free throws and bring the lead up to 113-108. Along with that, that play made Rose get fouled out.

Luol Deng had 21 points and ten rebounds and Joakim Noah had 17 points. Kurt Thomas had six rebounds and three points filling in for the injured Carlos Boozer at power forward.

Vogel, who was receiving criticism for the Pacers’ style of play on that six-game losing-streak, is gaining trust again with this win and his continuous confidence, especially heading into overtime into this game.

“We outplayed them for most of this game,” he said. “We’ll outplay them for five more minutes.”

This was the last regular-season meeting between these two, as the Pacers finally got revenge. However, there’s a good shot these two can meet in the playoffs. Indiana is more than likely to get an eighth seed, and if the Bulls keep playing strong, they’ll be a number-one seed. Rose is ready for some revenge.

“That’s a team we could possibly see in the playoffs,” he said. “I can’t wait to play them again.”

The Pacers can’t wait either.


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