INDIANAPOLIS -- It's easy to say the Bulls should expect more from Carlos Boozer after signing him to an expensive free-agent deal last summer.
Boozer had a rough night in Game 3, hitting 2 of 10 shots for 4 points and 11 rebounds. On the other hand, the Bulls are 65-20 this season, so why worry about anything?
"It was a defensive, grind-it-out game," Boozer said in the locker room. "(The referees) were letting it go a little bit and we came away with the win. That's how we look at it. We don't care about stats. We don't care if we shot 1-for-3,000. We don't care if we did this or did that, as long as we win. This whole locker room is like that."
Boozer had just 2 field goals, but 1 was a big dunk between Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough that gave the Bulls an 82-78 lead with 4:35 remaining.
"We've got great stories around the locker room of guys just hanging together as a group, playing tough," he added. "All we care about is winning. You guys can break down the stats. All we want to do is win. We'll get in the lab (practice gym) tomorrow, work on the things we need to work on and we'll be ready for Game 4."
Brewer feels thumb:
Before Game 3, Ronnie Brewer admitted the sprained left thumb suffered late in the regular season still was giving him problems.
"It's hard to catch. Other than that, I just try to take it to the basket as much as I can," Brewer said. "Even when I do dunk, it still hurts. I'm just trying to play through it. Sometimes if I pass it with both thumbs, it hurts a little bit. Rebounding the ball with two hands, that hurts. You've got to play through it, and that's what I'm trying to do."
Sure enough, Brewer fumbled a few catch attempts in the first half and came out of the game after less than five minutes. He did return in the second half and hit 2 clinching free throws with 1.1 seconds left.
Rather than accept criticism of his team's late-game offense while losing two close games at the United Center, Pacers coach Frank Vogel credited the Bulls' defense.
"We can't rely on 1-on-1 basketball against this team," Vogel said. "We've got to screen. We've got to move."
Vogel said he watched the last eight to 10 Bulls games and studied the opponents' fourth-quarter offense.
"What I learned is it's not us," he said. "They're a great defensive team down the stretch. Just about every team I watched struggled down the stretch. The more I saw teams go 1-on-1, the more they struggled. So we've got to get them moving, make extra passes and force rotations."
Several Bulls attended the Blackhawks playoff game Tuesday, including Ronnie Brewer, Carlos Boozer and John Lucas III.
"It was definitely me and John's first game," Brewer said. "We don't have hockey in Arkansas."
Brewer said he was warned by trainer Fred Tedeschi and others not to expect any fights in a playoff game, but apparently, there were several.
"When they were fighting, it made my whole night," Brewer said. "I definitely enjoyed myself."
Derrick Rose finished fourth in voting for most improved player. Minnesota's Kevin Love won, followed by Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge and Golden State's Dorrell Wright. Luol Deng got 1 second-place vote. … The Bulls were credited with just 16 points in the paint, 10 fewer than their regular-season low. They did knock down 9 of 20 shots from 3-point range, compared to Indiana's 1-for-10.