Derrick Rose scored 39 points, Kyle Korver nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer and the top-seeded Chicago Bulls rallied from a late 10-point deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 104-99 in their playoff opener on Saturday.
Trailing 98-88 late in the game, the Bulls showed the resolved that carried them to a league-best 62-20 record, outscoring Indiana 16-1 over the final 3:38.
Rose scored seven during that run, including a three-point play and a floater that tied it at 99 with 1:27 left. He then hit Korver with a crosscourt pass for a 3 that gave the Bulls their first lead at 102-99 with 48 seconds remaining.
Danny Granger then missed a tying 3. Joakim Noah got the rebound, and Rose eventually hit two free throws with 14.8 seconds remaining. He was 19 of 21 from the line and had six assists and six rebounds in another strong performance.
Luol Deng added 18 points and Korver finished with 13.
Danny Granger led Indiana with 24 points. Tyler Hansbrough shook off an elbow from Kurt Thomas to finish with 22, but the Pacers came up just short in their first playoff game in five years.
Even so, they gave the Bulls all they could handle.
With the Pacers leading 98-88, Luol Deng hit two free throws with 3:28 remaining to start the comeback. Joakim Noah followed with a tip-in and dunk to make it a four-point game, and the Bulls were on their way.
Exactly how far they'll go remains to be seen, but they're certainly aiming high after securing homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. They won nine straight and 21 of 23 down the stretch, and anything less than a big run would be a big disappointment.
Meanwhile, the Pacers will try to shake this one off and figure out how a game that looked so promising ended in defeat.
They were concerned late in the third quarter when Hansbrough got elbowed in the head by Kurt Thomas as he was trying to rebound a miss by Rose. Hansbrough stayed down for several minutes and, still woozy, had to take a seat in the tunnel.
He eventually walked to the locker room on his own power and returned to the game with 5:33 remaining, just before Deng nailed a 3 to pull Chicago within 89-86. Then, after a fadeaway by Granger, Deng got called for a technical after a hard foul by Hansbrough on Rose, who converted both free foul shots after Darren Collison missed his shots from the line.
Hansbrough struck again, hitting back-to-back jumper that made it 95-88, and his three-point play put the lead at 10 with 3:38 remaining. But the Bulls came storming back.