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(Saturday, November 16th)
Final Score: Chicago 110, Indiana 94
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Luol Deng led seven Chicago players in double figures with 23 points, and the Bulls handed the Indiana Pacers their first loss of the season with an impressive 110-94 verdict at the United Center.
Indiana hadn't allowed less than 91 points in getting off to a 9-0 start, but the Bulls shot 50.6 percent from the field and went a scorching 11-of-19 from 3-point range en route to their fourth consecutive victory following a 1-3 beginning to the campaign.
Derrick Rose, back from a mild hamstring injury that kept him out of Friday's clash with Toronto, knocked down 6-of-11 attempts from beyond the arc as part of a 20-point effort. The Bulls also received 15 and 13 points, respectively, from reserves Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich while dominating the Pacers from virtually start-to-finish.
"We're just focused on getting better," Gibson said, adding that this was not a statement win. "We just came out and executed well and it worked our way. We understand we have a long way to go."
The Bulls also held Indiana star Paul George to a season-low 12 points on 3- of-14 shooting and led by as many as 33 points in the rout.
Roy Hibbert topped the Pacers with 14 points and 10 rebounds, with David West and Chris Copeland finishing with 13 points in the loss.
"They had great energy and played harder. They wanted to beat us. We didn't play like we wanted to beat them," West said.
Chicago wasted little time in making a statement, building a 15-5 lead just over 4 1/2 minutes in on the strength of a 10-0 run that Rose ignited with his first 3-pointer of the night. Deng poured in 12 points during the opening period to stake the Bulls to a 31-20 advantage entering the second.
The Bulls didn't turn down the intensity in the second quarter, with the margin stretching to 42-24 midway through the frame following a successful tip-in by Gibson. Rose later buried two more triples within a 49-second span to increase the lead to 53-30, then sank another just before the close of the half to send Chicago into the break owning a substantial 60-35 cushion.
Chicago made 12-of-18 field goal attempts, including all five of its tries from beyond the arc, during the second quarter while holding the Pacers to a woeful 7-of-28 success rate from the floor for the session.
Indiana failed to make any headway in the third quarter, with the Bulls pushing the lead to 82-49 after Jimmy Butler was fouled while hitting a 3- pointer and converting the ensuing bonus shot. Chicago was ahead comfortably, 84-59, entering the fourth.
The Pacers were able to trim their deficit somewhat in the late stages, outscoring Chicago by a 12-5 count over the final four-plus minutes.
George had netted at least 21 points in each of Indiana's first nine games ... Including the 2011 Eastern Conference Playoffs, the Bulls are 13-5 in their last 18 meetings with Indiana when Rose plays. The Pacers won three of the four matchups between the clubs last season, which Rose missed while recovering from a torn ACL ... Copeland went 3-for-4 from 3-point range, but the rest of Indiana's roster combined to go 1-of-12 from long distance ... Chicago improved to 4-0 at home this season
11/17 00:49:10 ET