CHICAGO (AP) —Luol Deng scored 20 points, Carlos Boozer had 18 and the Chicago Bulls overcame the absence of starting center Joakim Noah to earn an 87-84 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
Deng had 13 points at halftime, but Chicago’s reserves sparked the Bulls’ second-half rally, outscoring Indiana’s reserves 32-15 to snap the Pacers’ three-game winning streak. Taj Gibson scored 11, and Daequan Cook and Nate Robinson had nine apiece.
The Bulls went on a 13-5 run starting the fourth quarter to take an 81-72 lead. A four-point play by George Hill brought Indiana within 87-84 in the final minute. After a missed driving shot by Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich with 16 seconds left, the Pacers had a chance to tie, but Paul George had two 3-point tries go off the rim in the final 10 seconds, including one at the final buzzer.
George led the Pacers with 23 points, but he was held to three points in the fourth quarter when Indiana missed 13 of its first 15 shots from the field.
Deng had plantar fasciitis in his right foot in February and missed three games, but has had not missed a game due to the injury since then.
Without Deng, veteran Nazr Mohammed got the start and Indiana immediately attacked inside, going to center Roy Hibbert, who finished with 18 points. The Pacers led by as many as 10, but George picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter and it slowed Indiana’s momentum.
Indiana hit just 4-of-20 shots from the field in the fourth quarter while the Bulls staged their rally.
Hill had 11 points and Lance Stephenson 10 for the Pacers.
Mohammed scored 11 points for the Bulls, who had lost two straight before the win.
NOTES: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game that Noah would like miss Sunday’s game at Minnesota and it’s possible he may not make the trip with the team. … The loss denied the Pacers their first chance for a season sweep of the Bulls since the 2001-02 season. … The Pacers played for the fourth straight game without David West due to a lower back sprain.
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