It's not easy going from the side of a milk carton to a wanted poster in one afternoon, but Tyler Hansbrough has never been one to get short-changed.
He wasn't during his days at North Carolina, breaking record after record in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and he wasn't going to be in the Indiana Pacers' 104-99 loss to the Bulls in Game 1 of a first-round Eastern Conference playoff series Saturday.
Whether it was his hard foul of Derrick Rose in the fourth quarter that resulted in a technical foul for Luol Deng or his post-dunk, arms-out celebration after he ripped the ball from Carlos Boozer with 3:38 left and slammed it home, ''Psycho T'' made his presence felt — to the complete dislike of the sellout crowd at the United Center.
Danny Granger isn't the only Pacer whom Bulls fans can love to hate for the next week.
''A lot of people have written us off,'' Hansbrough said of the intensity he displayed. ''We showed we can play with them, but now it's our time to come in and get a win.''
The only thing more shocking to Bulls fans than Hansbrough scoring 22 points Saturday, including 16 in the second half, might be the fact that he's still playing in the NBA.
After the Pacers made him the 13th overall pick in the 2009 draft, his rookie-year resumé read like that of a future D-League All-Star: 29 games, 8.5 points per game. An inner-ear problem limited his playing time and relegated him to obscurity. Out of sight, out of mind is reality in the NBA.
Even during this past regular season, Hansbrough showed no signs of being a scoring threat. But on Saturday, he was picking-and-popping the No. 8-seeded Pacers to a 10-point lead late in the game until the bottom fell out.
Tyler Hansbrough, Pacers clamoring to be noticed
Chicago Sun-Times | Apr 17