CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Bulls had a chance to sweep the pesky Indiana Pacers out of the playoffs in Game 4, but an injured Derrick Rose wasn’t able to muster his usual brilliance.
The Pacers may have lived to fight another day, but the Bulls have another chance to send Indiana home when the two teams square off in the United Center at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night.
Here are the keys to Game 5:
The Most Important Ankle In Chicago
-Derrick Rose sprained his left ankle in the Bulls’ Game 4 loss, but still played 43 minutes. It was clear that Rose was limited by the injury, only scoring 15 points. After two days of treatment, Chicago is hoping that Rose is as close to 100 percent as possible. The Bulls need to have their superstar healthy and effective if they don’t want the Pacers to see a sixth game.
-Whether Rose is fully healthy or not, the Bulls need someone other than their point guard to have a breakout game offensively. Joakim Noah looked, in Game 4, like he was close to that point, scoring 21 points and playing more aggressively than Chicago has seen him play in a while. Look for Kyle Korver and Keith Bogans to try to spread the court with long-range jump shots to relieve some of the pressure on Rose and free up the lane for the Noah and Carlos Boozer.
-Through the first four games of this series, the Pacers have looked like the more consistent team. In each game, the Bulls have gotten off to a slow start and found themselves in a hole. They were able to fight their way out of that hole in the first three games, but fell short in Game 4. If Chicago wants to end this series on Tuesday night, they’ll need to get a full team effort for a full 48 minutes, anything less and we might be talking about keys to Game 6.
What do you think will happen in Game 5? Post your predictions in our comments section.