By Conrad Brunner, Pacers.com
Indianapolis (April 23, 2011) -- Of course it wasn't easy. It's evident nothing will be as long as Derrick Rose is on the floor.
The Pacers built a 16-point lead with five minutes remaining and then hung on for dear life in the face of another late Chicago run to pull out an 89-84 victory in Game 4 Saturday before 18,165 in Conseco Fieldhouse.
Danny Granger led the Pacers with 24 points, nine rebounds and four assists, hitting four crucial free throws in the final 14.1 seconds. Roy Hibbert had his best game of the series with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
The teams will meet in Game 5 Tuesday night in Chicago.
"We have had three games that weíve been in there for the whole game and didnít get it closed out," said Hibbert. "Tonight, we arrived. We came over the hump and got the W. We proved weíre as strong as anybody else and can win with anybody else."
Rose, who sprained his left ankle late in the first quarter but returned early in the second, scored just 15 points on 6-of-22 shooting but had 10 assists and led the Bulls back down the stretch.
"Iím (OK)," Rose said. "Thatís basketball. Youíre going to have injuries. Any time as a guard you get hurt during the game you just want to be able to keep moving so it doesnít tighten up, and have to make sure you keep your shoes tight."
His steal at midcourt drew a clear-path foul from Josh McRoberts. Rose made one free throw and Luol Deng converted a three-point play on the bonus possession to cut the lead to 84-77 with 1:36 remaining.
The Pacers came up empty on their next three possessions, including a steal and dunk by Rose that cut it to 84-81 with 38.9 seconds left.
Mike Dunleavy made it a two-possession game with a free throw with 17.9 remaining but Joakim Noah drove for a three-point play and it was a one-point game with 15.3 remaining.
Just beating a five-second violation, McRoberts lofted a crosscourt inbounds pass to Granger, who was quickly fouled and made both for an 87-84 lead with 14.1 seconds left.
On the biggest defensive possession of the game, Dahntay Jones came up big, blanketing Rose and denying the ball from the Chicago star. It instead wound up in the hands of Carlos Boozer, who missed a corner 3-pointer -- the first postseason attempt of his career.
"I just tried to deny him the ball and stop him from going where he wanted to go," said Jones. "Heís such an electric player and it was great to get this win. We felt down the stretch today that we could hang on the last few minutes. We knew the key was getting stops on defense and keeping our composure."
The Pacers controlled most of the first half but broke things open in the final five minutes with a 17-3 run that sent the home team into the locker room with the biggest lead of the series, 49-33. Chicago missed all seven of its shots during that run and wound up at 33 percent in the first half with nearly as many turnovers (11) as field goals (12).
The run grew to 19-3 early in the second half as the Bulls missed their first three shots, making it 10 in a row, before Boozer ended the six minutes of silence with a jumper that made it 51-35. Chicago got as close as nine twice in the period but Indiana took a 68-56 lead into the fourth.
Indiana lost fourth-quarter leads in the first three games, but not this time. Barely.
"Weíre very excited about the win," said Indiana interim coach Frank Vogel. "Our guys really fought. They arenít ready to go home yet. Ö Itís the scrappiest team Iíve ever seen. Iím excited to be a part of it."
Fast breaks: The Pacers had just six turnovers in the first three quarters that resulted in just four points for the Bulls. However Chicago scored 15 of its 28 fourth quarter points on eight Indiana miscues. Ö Indiana's bench outscored Chicago's reserves 30-17 , bringing the total to 105-59 in the last three games. Ö Indian outscored Chicago from the line for the first time in the series (22-19). Ö Rose attempted just four free throws after racking up 49 in the first three games. Ö Paul George had two steals, bringing his total to seven in the last three games. Ö Rose had all 10 of his assists in the second half. Ö Since allowing 104 points in the opener, Indiana has limited Chicago to 89.3 points on 38.3 percent shooting in the last three games. Ö NBA Commissioner David J. Stern was in attendance, as was Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. Ö A crew from the Oprah Winfrey Show was in Conseco Fieldhouse working on a feature involving Rose.