Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs Chicago, Game 4


By Conrad Brunner,

SCOUTING THE PACERS: They ultimately hope to become the first team in NBA history to recover from an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. To do that, they must get that elusive first victory. Though they've played the top seed close throughout all three games, they haven't been able to make the necessary plays in the closing minutes. Danny Granger has scored well (21.3) but support has been wanting. Since his 22-point outing in the opener, Tyler Hansbrough has totaled 16 points on 5-of-24 shooting. Roy Hibbert has similarly struggled, going 6-of-19 from the field in the last two games with 14 points and 10 fouls in 44 minutes. Indiana has gotten strong play from its bench, which has outscored Chicago's vaunted reserve squad 75-42 in the last two. The defense also has been solid, holding Chicago to 41 percent shooting while forcing 53 turnovers that have been converted to 68 Indiana points -- roughly one-quarter of the team's offensive output.

SCOUTING THE BULLS: The top-seeded team in the NBA has not been dominant -- at least not until the final minutes of each game -- but it has been victorious and as a result is one victory away from a sweep. Derrick Rose was human in Game 3, going 4-of-18 from the field with more turnovers (five) than assists (two) but the constant has been his ability to get to the line. He has scored 44 of his 98 points on free throws, at least 12 in each game. Luol Deng has proven a steady complement, averaging 17.7 points and 7.3 rebounds, and Carlos Boozer (11.0) and Joakim Noah (10.3) have been consistent forces on the boards. Kyle Korver has been a major weapon off the bench, particularly in the fourth quarter, when he has scored 19 of his 33 points and gone 5-of-5 from the 3-point line.

KEY MATCHUP: Hibbert and Hansbrough both have effectively been taken out of the series since Game 1 and the Pacers need to find a way to get either or both back in the mix. Foul trouble has plagued Hibbert, while Hansbrough has struggled to knock down his shots. The young frontcourt combination doesn't have to take over but it must contribute to give interim coach Frank Vogel more options down the stretch.

QUOTE MARKS: "We recognize that it's never been done, a team in the NBA coming back from being down 3-0 but my message to our guys is it will happen some day. Some day, there will be a team in the NBA that comes back from a 3-0 deficit, so why not us?" -- Pacers interim coach Frank Vogel

INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, starting point guard Darren Collison (sprained left ankle) is probable. The Bulls are healthy

TICKETS: Limited number available

BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 2:30 p.m. onTNT. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bobby "Slick" Leonard with Kevin Lee reporting.

INTERACT: You can chat live with fans around the country in our live game blog which begins at tipoff.