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Bulls use dominant start to defeat Pacers

Dec 12, 2006 - 4:11 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni gave the Chicago Bulls a tremendous start against a shorthanded opponent.

Ben Gordon scored 23 points, Deng had 22 and Nocioni added 19 to lead seven players in double figures as the Bulls won for the eighth time in nine games with a 106-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Playing the sixth contest of an eight-game homestand, Chicago rebounded from Saturday's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves with a season-high 42 first-quarter points to raise its record to 2-0 against the Pacers this season.

"I just wanted to make sure we were going to get the win," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said of his seven-man rotation. "I wanted to keep our main guys out there. That rotation seemed to work well."

Deng made all six shots in the first half and scored 16 points and Nocioni added 15 to give the Bulls a 66-50 lead at intermission. Chicago made 15-of-18 shots in the opening period and shot nearly 66 percent (21-of-32) prior to halftime.

"I didn't know we shot that well (in the first quarter)," Deng said. "When we came out, we shot great. I thought our defense wasn't great but our offense was very good."

"I was not happy with our play tonight," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "Our play in the first quarter was abominable. We gave up 42 points and they shot something like 83 percent. Our defense was just not there."

After managing just four points in the first half, Gordon made 6-of-9 shots and scored 17 in the second, including three consecutive baskets after the Pacers cut the deficit to 98-89 with 5:07 remaining.

"When we get in the middle of the court and we are sharing the basketball, good things always happen," Gordon said. "You can always share the basketball. You can always play unselfish, and you can always play tough defense."

Ben Wallace scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Kirk Hinrich, Chris Duhon and P.J. Brown added 10 points each for the Bulls.

Indiana played without swingman Stephen Jackson, who was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team following an argument with Carlisle over being replaced in the second quarter of Saturday's loss to Cleveland.

In addition, All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal missed his third straight contest with a sore left hamstring. Forward Al Harrington and guard Marquis Daniels were late scratches due to food poisoning.

Danny Granger and Jamaal Tinsley scored 21 points each and Sarunas Jasikevicius added 15 for Indiana, which shot 51 percent (37-of-72).

"My shot was falling in the first half," said Tinsley about playing despite a touch food poisoning. "But over the course of 48 minutes, when you are sick, you have to pick your spots of when to be aggressive. That's what I did in the third and fourth quarter."

"Tinsley played great for us," Carlisle said. "He made a lot of good things happen on the court. He was not feeling good and could have just bagged it. You could see that before the game he didn't look good at all."

Indiana's personnel changes led to the activation of rookie forward Shawne Williams, who scored 13 points in his first game.

"He has worked hard to stay ready," Carlisle said. "Our assistant coaches have spent a lot of time with him to have him ready to play. He's a guy that eventually will be able to do a lot of things on the court."

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