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(Saturday, March 23rd)
Final Score: Chicago 87, Indiana 84
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Luol Deng scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Carlos Boozer registered a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards, as the recently slumping Chicago Bulls picked up a much-needed 87-84 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.
Nard Mohammed and Taj Gibson each netted 11 points for the Bulls, who ended a two-game losing skid and had dropped four of their last five.
"That is the way we have to play," Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We have to do it collectively. A lot of guys stepped up."
Chicago, which was already without Joakim Noah due to a foot injury, also came out on top despite losing Nate Robinson and Daequan Cook in the second half.
Robinson committed a flagrant foul Type 2 when he grabbed Lance Stephenson on a fast break attempt and was automatically ejected. Cook took a shot underneath the basket chasing a loose ball and was helped into the locker room midway through the fourth quarter.
Paul George paced Indiana with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Roy Hibbert had 18 points and 12 boards for the Pacers, who had a three-game winning streak come to an end.
George's dunk and a Hibbert hook shot increased the Pacers' lead to seven early in the third quarter. The Bulls, though, continually battled to close the gap and finally took a lead on Cook's driving lay-in as the buzzer sounded to make it 68-67 heading into the fourth.
Chicago carried its momentum to start the final period, as Cook hit a triple to start a 6-0 swing to create some breathing room and a 74-67 advantage. Indiana's Gerald Green then hit a trey shortly afterward to make it a four- point contest, but the Bulls strengthened their lead once again by scoring five unanswered to go up 81-72 with 4:42 to play.
As the contest wound down, Boozer split a pair from the charity stripe to make it 87-80 in the Bulls' favor, and it looked like Chicago would hold on easily with just 56 ticks remaining.
George Hill, however, had other plans, as he converted a rare four-point play after making a triple and being fouled by the Bulls' Kirk Hinrich. His free throw that followed made it am 87-84 game with 40 seconds remaining.
The game still wasn't done, as Hinrich missed a layup as the shot clock came to a close with 15 seconds left. George then had two attempts at a tie with a 3-pointer with less than three seconds remaining, but both shots rimmed out.
"It's just very tough to beat a team four times (in one season)," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "Tonight (the difference) was their defense. They made it tough to score. We struggled to score all night."
Indiana led 22-16 after one quarter before taking a 44-39 edge into the break.
Chicago is 19-16 at home this season ... Indiana is 15-19 on the road ... The Pacers were looking for their first season sweep of the Bulls since 2001-02 ... The Bulls now own the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, while Indiana is sitting in the No. 3 spot after the New York Knicks defeated Toronto on Saturday.
03/24 00:10:16 ET
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