eastern niagFor Bulls, focus turns toward Eastern semifinals

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The Bulls made major adjustments to get to this point, undergoing a massive overhaul a year ago following back-to-back first-round playoff exits.

"Last year, we were just saying, How are we going to win this game? Do we have a chance?" Rose said. "We really didnt have a chance. This year, we have a chance to win almost every game that we go ieastern niagara health systemn."

Many figured the Bulls would roll through the Pacers. Instead, they got all they could handle, pulling out the first three games by a total of 15 points and seeing a furious rally at the end of Game 4 ll just short.

And he figures itll be a different story for Boozer in the conference semifinals.

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"Carlos will get going," Deng said. "If you look at the games, Carlos is rebounding the ball great for us. Every series is going to be different. Carlos is always working hard. Hes always in there early. His rhythm will come. This series, Indiana did a good job sometimes taking his rhythm away, but this is over with. Weve got to get ready for how were going to get him more involved early and get ready for the next series."

"Whoever we play next, I assure you theyre going to plan a lot to stop Carlos," Deng said. "Carlos is one of the best low-post scorers in this league."

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Every game in the opening round was a struggle for Boozer except the second, when he delivered 17 points and 16 rebounds. He had 12 points in the opener and four in Game 3, and even when he scored 15 in Game 4, he hit just 6 of 15 shots.

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Derrick Rose and the rest of the Bulls are breathing a little easier. They cleared one big hurdle, and now, theyre staring at another one.

The Pacers fouled hard. Their big guards gave Rose trouble, trapping him and throwing the offense out of sync. His ankle injury in Game 4 only added to the angst. So did Carlos Boozers struggles, and if theres a concern going forward, thats a big one.

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The fouls certainly arent helping the cause. Its hard to find a rhythm sitting on the sideline, and even if hes not shooting well, he still draws attention from opponents and takes some of the load off his teammates.

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He went from scoring 17.3 points per game in the regular season to 10.0 against the Pacers, and his shooting dropped from 51 percent to 35.8.

Now, theyre taking a breather after getting pushed by the Pacers, with no practice scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday.

The Bulls big offseason acquisition, Boozer has been out of sync ever since missing five games in March with a sprained left ankle. In his final 14 regular-season games, he hit the 20-point mark just three times and finished with 14 or fewer eight times.

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As if he wasnt having a tough enough time in the playoffs, another issue suced in Game 5 – turf toe. Boozer heard a pop in his right foot when he scored his lone basket in the second quarter and finished with just two points on 1-of-5 shooting. He also ran into foul trouble again, picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter and his fourth in the third. That gave him 19 in the series, and he sat out the final 18 minutes, 17 seconds.

"We have to try to figure out how we can keep him out of foul trouble," Thibodeau said. "Its hard to get into a rhythm when youre picking up two quick fouls like he is right now."

Now, theyve advanced past the first round for only the second time since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippens second three-peat.

"Its really good for us to end this series like this," Luol Deng said. "We didnt really want another close game. In the locker room, we know its not how you eastern niagFor Bulls, focus turns toward Eastern semifinalsplay, its whether you win the game. We have adjustments to make."

With new coach Tom Thibodeau, a rebuilt roster and Roses emergence as an MVP candidate, the Bulls stormed to a league-best 62-20 record, matching their best record since the 1997-98 championship season.

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For all the angst over the slow starts, the turnovers, the physical play and Roses sprained left ankle, this is exactly where the Bulls thought they would be – even if getting there was a little tougher than expected.

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That would be Atlanta or Orlando in the Eastern Conference semifinals, after the Bulls disposed of Indiana in a tough first-round series. Its the next step in what they hope will be a long playoff run after a dominant regular season.

CHICAGO (AP) – Relax, Chicago.

The opening round certainly wasnt easy. The Pacers hung in until about midway through the third quarter of Game 5 Tuesday, when the Bulls broke open a tight game and rolled over Indiana 116-89 in what turned into the first blowout of the series.

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