Pacers tie up Bulls in Central with 111-101 win
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Indiana suddenly has a shooting touch to go with its tough defense.
The combination is just too much.
David West scored 29 points Monday night and All-Star Paul George finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, leading the Pacers past Chicago 111-101 for a 14th consecutive home win and into a tie with the Bulls for the Central Division lead.
"We're just playing together, every game I feel like we're playing sharper," West said. "We still need to pick it up defensively, we're slipping in that regard, but in terms of the offense and how we're moving the ball and what we're looking for, it's just game-by-game improvement."
Three nights after shooting a season-high 55.7 percent in a relatively easy win over defending NBA champion Miami, Indiana shot 52.7 percent against a Bulls defense that is ranked No. 2 in the NBA in defensive field goal percentage. The only team ahead of the Bulls is the Pacers, and Indiana never trailed in the second half Monday.
Indiana has topped the 100-point mark four times in the last five games after doing that only seven times in the first 43. It was the Pacers' highest point total in a non-overtime game all season, and the timing couldn't have been better as they head into a three games-in-three night swing. They are the only NBA team to deal with that this season.
Now the Pacers will take a three-game winning streak into Tuesday night's home game against Atlanta as they try to win a 15th consecutive home game for the first time since 1999-2000 when they won 25 in a row. On Wednesday, they visit Philadelphia.
Indiana's recent surge has it tied for the division lead with Chicago (29-19) and behind only Miami (30-14) and New York (31-15) in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
Over the past month, the Pacers have beaten Miami twice and New York and Chicago once each, going 4-0 mark against the East's three other top teams since Jan. 8 and they now have a 2-0 series lead over the Bulls, the league's best road team.
"We played the No. 1 team in Miami and New York and Chicago is right there, and this is a big win for us, definitely playing against a division team," George Hill said. "So I'm happy with our ballclub, we played a great game."
The Bulls didn't look like themselves, though.
Starting guards Derrick Rose (left knee) and Kirk Hinrich (right elbow) and starting center Joakim Noah (right foot) all sat out again with injuries, and they had another scare late in the first quarter when Marco Belinelli crashed to the floor clutching his right ankle. He returned later and finished with a season-high 24 points. Nate Robinson finished with 19 points, nine assists and five rebounds, and Carlos Boozer had 10 points and five rebounds as he returned from a right hamstring injury.
All of those players, other than Belinelli and Robinson, missed Saturday's 93-76 victory at Atlanta.
"I feel like we're short-handed right now, but we're competing hard and that's all you can ask for and I feel like our best basketball is yet to come," Noah said. "We've just got to keep fighting and I think we'll be all right."
Those expecting a defensive slugfest were in for a surprise.
Indiana started the game fast, making its first six shots to take a 13-2 lead, and finished the first half nearly as fast, using a 12-6 run to break a 48-48 tie to make it 60-54 at the half. The Pacers shot 66.7 percent from the field in the half.
Chicago had seven players in double figures and continually challenged Indiana, but never had control and couldn't even forge a tie over the final 27 1/2 minutes.
Robinson opened the second half with a 3-pointer and a 20-foot jumper to close the deficit to 60-59, but a few minutes later, Indiana seized control with two quick scoring flurries.
The first came when George hit a 3-foot jumper, Lance Stephenson then completed a three-point play and Hill added a four-point play to make it 73-63 with 7:35 left in the third. Chicago answered with four straight points, and Indiana came right back with six straight to take a 79-67 lead.
"We started the game in a big hole and we had to get out of that hole," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Now you're scrambling and trying to give yourself a chance. I thought we were in position with five minutes to go."
Chicago rallied again in the fourth, using an 8-0 run to close to 90-84, and it got as close as four three times.
Indiana finally sealed it with a 3 from George and two free throws from West with 1:05 to play.
"I'm proud of the way we're growing on the offensive end," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Still a few too many turnovers, but we've made a commitment to the extra pass. When the ball is moving, we're too many weapons to be as poorly efficient as we have been."
NOTES: It was Indiana's first regular-season home win over Chicago since March 18, 2011. ... The Bulls are 6-20 all-time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. ... Bulls guard Marquis Teague finished with two points in his first pro appearance in his hometown. ... The Bulls lost for only the third time in nine games.
Updated February 4, 2013
In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.
Mike Florio joined the program to discuss the Jets decision to release Tim Tebow, he said the situation is as disaster all around for the Jets and that the problems begins with owner Woody Johnson. Mike also said that he was disappointed with the Pats moving back in the first round.
One of the hardest working men in the biz, Mike Petraglia aka "Trags", sits down with Butch Stearns live in Foxborough to help break down all the latest Pats moves. He discusses his reaction to the trade in Round 1 and the guys those picks produced. Also, the boys talk about the decent trade the Pats made in acquiring LeGarrette Blount from Tampa Bay for Jeff Demps and a 7th rounder.
We check in with Danny Ainge for our first talk to him since the Celtics season ended last weekend. We talk about the future of the team, KG, Pierce, Doc Rivers and more, as Danny directly answers the rumors being floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Jackie Mac joins the show to discuss the trade rumors swirling around Paul Pierce, KG, Doc Rivers and the Celtics. She also discusses the future of the Celtics head coach.
Stephen A. joined the program to discuss the trade rumors he has reported regarding a possible trade including Doc Rivers and the Clippers. Stephen A. also told the guys that he has heard that Danny and Doc may be tiring of working together.
Joe Castiglione talked with John Lackey after he picked up the W against the Twins. Lackey threw seven innings, and retired the 1st twelve batters of the game.
Dave O'Brien talked to John Farrell before the end of the Twins series. The Sox skipper said that Big Papi's success is no surprise given his work ethic.
John Farrell postgame press conference
Eddie Olczyk joins the show to discuss the Bruins Rangers series and what to expect with Game 3 back in NY. He also talks about Seguin's inconsistency and the role of Jaromir Jagr.
Kenny Albert joins Mut and Merloni to discuss the play of Henrik Lundqvist, changes John Torterella may make before tonight's game, and if home ice advantage will make a difference.
Elliotte Friedman joined the show to discuss the Bruins domination of the series thus far. He said that while nothing is certain he cannot see a way in which the Rangers come back and win the series.
Steve joined the show to discuss the Rangers and their coach John Tortorella. Steve said that the Bruins have been the far better team thus far in the series.
Kirk and Gerry talked about game three tonight at Madison Square Garden between the Bruins and Rangers. Gerry and Kirk are not very confident in the ability of the Rangers to make this a series.
Find out which WEEI host came out victorious in the latest Salk Vs. Mut battle.
What's better than a whole hour with NESN's Jack Edwards? Not much. We talk all hockey, all the time with Jack live from his study, with a "Loving Cup", whatever that is.
We talk hockey as the Bruins have had little problem taking a 2-0 series lead against the much talk about NY Rangers. Will this continue in games 3 and 4 at MSG? We discuss.
We tackle four topics we haven't yet touched upon today. Gronk!, Proms with celebs and athletes and much more.
Today on the Daily Planet the Bruins have a 2-0 lead over the New york Rangers, the Red Sox are back on the winning sde of things, and the noteable birthdays of the day.
The Bruins have almost finished raking the Leafs, the Red Sox struggle from the mound, Miami Heat fans show their level of class.
Daily Planet Wednesday May 8th
....uhhhh.....a bunch of bombs over there....
Sounds like a prostate exam to me!
Damn New Yorkers!
Linda explains how the shootout transpired in Watertown during the early morning hours. She saw the first suspect mortally wounded and police beginning the manhunt for the second suspect.More from this show
Jeff Bauman, a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing, joined the show to give the guys an update of his condition and a first-hand account of that terrible day. Jeff told the guys how he wrote the description of the bomber as soon as he could. Mr. Bauman added that he is aided every day with the knowledge that he is alive and the terrorist that detonated the bomb is dead.More from this show
By and large, the focus of development in the minor leagues is on players. Still, there is a developmental path for coaches and managers in the farm system, as is evident from the fact that the previous two managers of the Red Sox' Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket -- Torey Lovullo (2010) and Arnie Beyeler (2011-12) are now both on the Red Sox' big league coaching staff. They share their insights about the differences between player and coaching expectations in Triple-A vs. the majors, while discussing professional development from the perspective of former minor league managers who aspire to similar positions in the big leagues.More from this show