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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Derrick Rose was beaten up and shaken up by Indiana’s trapping defense, which was intent on shutting him down at all costs.
The Chicago Bulls guard struggled all game long and even lost his cool at times, but he still found a way to be the difference-maker.
He scored 23 points, including the go-ahead layup with 17.8 seconds left, to help the Bulls beat the Pacers 88-84 on Thursday night and take a 3-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
Rose’s late basket was his only field goal in the second half. He made just 4 of 18 shots in the game as he was blanketed, and at times pummeled, by Indiana’s Paul George and Dahntay Jones.
“It was a little rough out there, but it’s basketball,” he said. “They had something to prove.”
Rose drove left for the layup that gave the Bulls an 86-84 lead and sparked “MVP!” chants from the thousands of Bulls fans who made the 3-hour drive.
Danny Granger had a chance to give the Pacers the lead, but his 3-pointer was off, and Chicago’s Ronnie Brewer rebounded.
Brewer was fouled, and he made two free throws with 1.1 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
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