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Dunleavy, Rush help Pacers crush Bulls

Dec 13, 2007 - 3:50 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Mike Dunleavy scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and Kareem Rush added 22 off the bench as the Indiana Pacers posted a 117-102 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

Jermaine O'Neal chipped in 18 points and seven rebounds for Indiana, which had five players in double figures and shot 55 percent (44-of-79) from the floor.

Dunleavy scored 12 points during a third quarter in which the Pacers outscored the Bulls, 40-25, to take a 93-77 lead heading into the final period.

"Everybody had opportunities, everybody made plays and it was a good team effort," Dunleavy said. "Especially in the second half, we shot it well and moved it well, and when we do that, we are pretty hard to guard."

Rush provided a big spark off the bench as he shot 9-of-13 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from the arc. The Pacers hit 11 3-pointers and led by double digits the entire fourth quarter.

"I was struggling a little bit early in the season," Rush said. "But the last couple of (games) I've had a chance to play more minutes and was able to get in a better rhythm. We are a team that likes to score a lot of points and we had a lot of guys get involved tonight."

Ben Gordon scored 18 points for Chicago, which lost for the second time in seven games and fell to just 2-17 at Conseco Fieldhouse since 1998-99.

"We struggled in transition defense all night," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "We struggled overall defensively, and once they started getting some stops and pushing the ball, we had some difficulties. If you are missing shots and not sprinting back and finding a man in transition, with this team, it's a bad mix."

The Pacers trailed, 58-56, in the third quarter before a 15-2 run that included five points from both Jamaal Tinsley and Rush gave Indiana a 71-60 lead with 7:28 left in the quarter.

Chicago led by as many as 16 points in the first half at 38-22 on Kirk Hinrich's layup with 9:23 to play in the second quarter. But Indiana promptly went on a 31-14 run to close the half to take a 53-52 lead at the break.

"It's not like we didn't know what we were walking into," Hinrich said. "We knew they like to get up and down, and we knew they had good shooters. We just didn't do a good job of executing defensively."

The first half saw a lot of action in more ways than one. Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas and Pacers forward Troy Murphy were ejected in the second quarter after a brief scuffle.

Murphy and Thomas each drew a technical foul at Chicago's end of the floor with 3:51 left in the second period and were booted.

Thomas snatched the ball from Murphy after the play while swinging his elbows, and Murphy then shoved Thomas to the floor, leading to Thomas shove Murphy in the face.

Official Scott Foster held Murphy back by his jersey. It was the second technical for Murphy, who received one earlier for arguing a call.

Murphy and Thomas each had eight points before their early exits.

"We appreciate Murph getting thrown out of the game and getting us going," O'Neal said with a smile. "In some situations like that when a coach gets a technical or there is an altercation, it makes guys re-focus and pick up the intensity."

"No hard feelings, at least on my end," Thomas said. "It's just basketball. In football (after the play) they push and shove and no one says anything. I regret it because I felt like I could have helped us win, but it happens."

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