While attempting to snare an offensive rebound late in the third quarter of a surprisingly tight NBA Playoffs-opening affair between the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers, Chicago reserve big man Kurt Thomas got his elbow/forearm up high on Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough. As you can see in the clip above, Thomas didn't swing wildly at Hansbrough's head or anything; his arm just landed awkwardly near the ear of the former University of North Carolina standout, who has suffered from vertigo in the past. The result? Oof.
Hansbrough hit the deck immediately, appeared briefly to be out cold, and was unsteady on his feet as he returned to the locker room for observation. The scene was reminiscent of the play last postseason when Orlando's Dwight Howard clipped Boston's Glen Davis on the chin, shaking (and, we later learned, concussing) the Celtics' "Big Baby."
The Pacers medical staff judged Hansbrough to be OK, it seems, because he was allowed to return to the contest and finished quite strong, ending with 22 points on 10-for-19 shooting — including a nice strip-and-fast-break-dunk against Carlos Boozer late in the fourth — to help Indy push the top-seeded Bulls to the breaking point.
In the end, though, the combination of a slightly stiffer Chicago defense and a seriously unstoppable Derrick Rose (39 points, 19-for-21 from the free-throw line, six rebounds, six assists and three blocks) proved too much, as the Bulls escaped with a 104-99 win to take a 1-0 lead in the first-round series. Stay tuned to BDL, because our man Kelly Dwyer was on the scene at the United Center, and he'll have much more from this game coming up soon.