That's about all we know about Game 5 at this point. Despite four games of evidence to the contrary, I still can't set my expectations high for yet another monumental effort by the Pacers to hold down the Bulls and have a chance to win the game down the stretch. Seems like I just can't clear the 82-game fog of the regular season from my head.
At this point, though I don't expect a let down in effort from the Pacers. I guess I'm more concerned about the Bulls catching fire and kicking their game into overdrive when they smell the kill. That normally happens in a playoff series at least once, especially a 1-8 series, and it hasn't come close yet.
The Bulls will need everything they can get out of Derrick Rose to pull that off, though which makes the health of Rose's ankle a critical part of the Game 5 story, which we also won't know about until we see him in action on Tuesday night. Rose and Luol Deng have been playing over 40 minutes per game for the Bulls, so if Rose can't play his normal alottment of minutes it will have an impact on the game.
Rose has declared himself ready to play, but how effective he can play will go a long way in determining the outcome. A quick look at the numbers for the Pacers with Rose on and off the court shows that the Pacers are -7.15 Net Efficiency Rating (team point differential per 100 possessions) with Rose on the court but a +23.28 when he's on the bench. Those numbers aren't surprising but do signify how much the Bulls need Rose to stay on the floor and be effective.
After the jump, plenty of off-day links on the Bulls vs. Pacers series along with talk of Donnie Walsh staying with the Knicks.
- Surprising defense gives Pacers a fighting chance - Bruno's Caught in the Web
Pacers make Bulls Derrick Rose work for his points | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
Mike Wells on Paul George and Dahntay Jones pushing Derrick Rose to have to make great plays to beat them.
- Bulls’ Derrick Rose likely to play despite sore ankle - Chicago Sun-Times
- Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose update: Precautionary walking boot, MRI on Sunday - chicagotribune.com
- Chicago Bulls: Teammates confident sprained ankle won't sideline Derrick Rose - chicagotribune.com
The Man Who Shut Down Derrick Rose - Basketball News & NBA Rumors -
All season long, nobody has been able to stop Derrick Rose, but Pacers rookie Paul George is doing it. How has he shut down the NBA's fastest man?
- Will Derrick Roses' ankle injury play bigger role in Game 5?
- Pacers vs. Bulls Spiderwebs – Game 4
- Thibodeau on the confusion at the end of Game 4 - chicagotribune.com
- VIDEO: Looking ahead to Game 5.
- Pacers' Game 4 win a tale of two perspectives | NBA.com
- Pacers still have a pulse and the heart to match - Chicago Sun-Times
- NBA Sunday: What's Wrong With Chicago? - Basketball News & NBA Rumors -
- Rose, Bulls staggering after Game 4 loss - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
- Minutes, production down from Bulls' 'Bench Mob' - Chicago Tribune
- Pacers Narrowly Avoid Sweep - RealGM Basketball Blog
- Joakim Noah in top form in Game 4 loss - Chicago Bulls Blog - ESPN Chicago
- Knicks considering two-year extension for Walsh - CBSSports.com