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updated: 4/16/2011 7:52 PM

Hansbrough a handful for Bulls

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  • Carlos Boozer, right, battles for a loose ball with Indiana Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough during the fourth quarter in Game 1 Saturday.

    Carlos Boozer, right, battles for a loose ball with Indiana Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough during the fourth quarter in Game 1 Saturday.
    Associated Press


Tyler Hansbrough received so much coverage during four years at North Carolina, he's never going to shed his bug-eyed "Psycho T" reputation.

Unless he continues to play like he did during Game 1 against the Bulls.

While Derrick Rose scored 25 of his game-high 39 points during the final 29 minutes of Game 1, Hansbrough nearly matched him point for point during that stretch.

Maybe he has developed into "Sharp-shooting T."

In his first playoff game, Hansbrough scored all 22 of his points over the last 29 minutes.

Considering he sat out seven of those minutes after getting knocked loopy by a Kurt Thomas elbow -- which earned Hansbrough plenty of boos from the sellout crowd as he lay face-down in the lane with 29 seconds left in the third quarter -- Hansbrough must be slowed during the rest of this Eastern Conference first-round series.

"The kid is a big-time competitor," said Indiana coach Frank Vogel. "Big-time. I'm glad he's on my team."

But the nation learned that fact -- almost to the point where it became nauseating -- when Hansbrough played for the Tar Heels. What's new now?

"He's really worked on his game," said Bulls guard Kyle Korver. "I think a lot of people had a lot of doubts about him coming into the draft. Where was he going to get picked and how would he play?

"He showed tonight he's a great player. He gave us fits."

Hansbrough drilled several jumpers in the 17- to 21-foot range, several of which weren't challenged.

To hear Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer tell it, Hansbrough benefited from a Bulls defense too dedicated to the team concept.

"Early on, we were almost helping so much, it was like we were over-helping," Boozer said. "I mean, he had 19 shots. We didn't expect him to be that open all night long. But we had so much attention on (Roy) Hibbert and (Danny) Granger, he was the one that was hitting all the shots."

Hansbrough reeled off 7 straight points over 58 seconds to give Indiana a 98-88 lead with 3:38 to go.

From that point forward, Hansbrough missed his only shot as the Pacers whiffed on their last 8 field-goal attempts.

"At the end of the game, you saw how we did a better job 1-on-1," Boozer said. "So we didn't have to help as much. We could get back to him quicker. As the series goes along, we'll do a better job of contesting open shots."

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