Pacers tie up Bulls in Central with 111-101 win

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 5, 2013 at 2:19 am •  Published: February 5, 2013
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All of those players, other than Belinelli and Robinson, missed Saturday's 93-76 victory at Atlanta.

"I feel like we're short-handed right now, but we're competing hard and that's all you can ask for and I feel like our best basketball is yet to come," Noah said. "We've just got to keep fighting and I think we'll be all right."

Those expecting a defensive slugfest were in for a surprise.

Indiana started the game fast, making its first six shots to take a 13-2 lead, and finished the first half nearly as fast, using a 12-6 run to break a 48-48 tie to make it 60-54 at the half. The Pacers shot 66.7 percent from the field in the half.

Chicago had seven players reach double figures and continually challenged Indiana, but never had control and couldn't even forge a tie over the final 27½ minutes.

Robinson opened the second half with a 3-pointer and a 20-foot jumper to close the deficit to 60-59, but a few minutes later, Indiana seized control with two quick scoring flurries.

The first came when George hit a 3-foot jumper, Lance Stephenson then completed a three-point play and Hill added a four-point play to make it 73-63 with 7:35 left in the third. Chicago answered with four straight points, and Indiana came right back with six straight to take a 79-67 lead.

"We started the game in a big hole and we had to get out of that hole," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Now you're scrambling and trying to give yourself a chance. I thought we were in position with five minutes to go."

Chicago rallied again in the fourth, using an 8-0 run to close to 90-84, and it got as close as four three times.

Indiana finally sealed it with a 3 from George and two free throws from West with 1:05 to play.

"I'm proud of the way we're growing on the offensive end," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Still a few too many turnovers, but we've made a commitment to the extra pass. When the ball is moving, we're too many weapons to be as poorly efficient as we have been."

NOTES: It was Indiana's first regular-season home win over Chicago since March 18, 2011. ... The Bulls are 6-20 all-time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. ... Bulls guard Marquis Teague finished with two points in his first pro appearance in his hometown. ... The Bulls lost for only the third time in nine games.