CHICAGO (AP) — Jimmy Butler scored 17 points for Chicago and played tough defense on Paul George on Indiana’s final possession, helping the Bulls hold on for a 96-95 victory over the Pacers on Monday night.
Butler stayed right with George in the final seconds and contested his difficult fadeaway shot that was well short as time expired, giving the Bulls their third straight win and fourth in five games.
Derrick Rose had 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting for Chicago, but departed with about six minutes remaining after he sprained his left ankle. Doug McDermott scored 11 points.
George had 26 points for Indiana, and Monta Ellis finished with 20 points. C.J. Miles made five 3-pointers on his way to 19 points, and Jordan Hill and Ian Mahinmi each grabbed 12 rebounds.
Indiana had won three straight and six of seven.
George was 9 for 20 from the field in his seventh consecutive game with at least 26 points. He also drew a charge on Tony Snell with 1:02 remaining and Indiana down 96-93, giving the Pacers another chance.
Ellis drove inside for a tough leaner on the other side, and Indiana got the ball back with about 24 seconds left after Butler missed for Chicago. But the All-Star clamped down on George to help Chicago hold on.
Indiana played without guards George Hill (upper respiratory infection) and Rodney Stuckey (sprained right ankle), and it took a while for the Pacers to get into the game. Rookie Myles Turner also had surgery Monday to repair a chip fracture in his left thumb, sidelining the center for at least six weeks.
Chicago opened with a 15-2 run and led 31-21 after one. Indiana shot 35 percent (7 for 20) in the first period.
The Pacers trailed by as many as 15 in the third, but Ellis scored eight in the period to help them get within four heading into the fourth.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg inserted Snell into the starting lineup in place of McDermott. Snell started Chicago’s first five games, but McDermott had started the last four in the small forward spot.
The Bulls are playing without Mike Dunleavy Jr., who is recovering from back surgery in late September.
“Just trying to find the best five guys to go out there and get us off to a good start,” Hoiberg said. “You know we haven’t been great early on in games defensively.”
Pacers: Indiana shot 40.2 percent (35 for 87 from the field.
Bulls: Taj Gibson had nine points and 11 rebounds. … Chicago improved to 5-1 at home.
Pacers: Visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Bulls: Visit the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
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