Thursday, February 25, 2010
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: A win by any other name would smell as sweet

Deng leads Bulls past Pacers 120-110

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[February 25, 2010]  CHICAGO (AP) -- Luol Deng scored a season-high 31 points, and the Chicago Bulls pulled away for a wild 120-110 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night after blowing an early 23-point lead.

Derrick Rose added 23 points, eight assists and nine rebounds as the Bulls won for the seventh time in nine games.

InsuranceThe Bulls led by 23 in the first quarter and were up 19 going into the second, only to watch it all disappear. Then, with a 58-54 halftime lead, they broke it open in the third and sent Indiana to its sixth loss in seven games.

The Pacers' Danny Granger missed his first five shots but finished with 20 points after missing Monday's loss at Dallas for personal reasons. Brandon Rush scored 12 of his season-high 21 in the second quarter as Indiana got back into the game by outscoring Chicago 36-21.


Then, the Bulls pulled away again and ended any flashbacks to their epic collapse against Sacramento in December, when they blew a 35-point lead and lost.

This time, they got a reverse layup from Brad Miller and jumper from Rose to start the second half. A few minutes later, the Bulls went on a 12-3 run that Deng finished with a 3-pointer, making it 83-67 midway through the third and putting them in control to stay.

Early on, this looked like another blowout at the United Center for Chicago, which had scored two of its most lopsided wins in its previous two home games. After tying a season high with a 33-point win over New York and beating Philadelphia by 32, Chicago opened by hitting 13-of-23 shots in one of its most prolific quarters.

Deng scored 11 in the first, converting a three-point play and tip-in to start a 16-2 run that made it 35-12 and just about buried the Pacers.

Turns out, they had plenty of life after all.

The team that couldn't hit early on shot its way back in the second, making 10-of-20 shots after going 7 of 24 in the first quarter.

[to top of second column]

Rush led the charge with 12 points, nailing 4 of 5 3-pointers and connecting from the outside with two minutes left in the half to tie it at 52. Dahntay Jones answered a jumper by Chicago's Kirk Hinrich with two free throws to tie it again at 54 with 1:24 left, before a layup by Deng and jumper by Rose gave the Bulls the 58-54 halftime lead.

Deng scored nine in the third period as Chicago outscored the Pacers 37-28, and he finished the game seven points shy of his career high. Flip Murray scored 16. Kirk Hinrich scored 14 and so did Taj Gibson, who also grabbed 11 rebounds.

NOTES: Pacers F Mike Dunleavy missed the game because of food poisoning. ... Chicago's Joakim Noah, bothered by plantar fasciitis in his left foot, had five points in seven minutes.

[Associated Press; By ANDREW SELIGMAN]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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