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Hughes' 27 points off bench help Bulls defeat Pacers

Feb 28, 2008 - 4:41 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Chicago Bulls used their fortified bench to help pull away in the fourth quarter on Wednesday.

Newly acquired reserve Larry Hughes scored 29 points as the Bulls posted a 113-107 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Ben Gordon scored 15 points, Andres Nocioni added 11 off the bench and Joakim Noah had 11 and seven rebounds for Chicago, which saw its reserves accrue 67 points in the victory.

"The dudes came off the bench and did a real good job," Gordon said. "Larry did a great job. Drew (Gooden) came in and did some good things. The bench had an overall good offensive game."

The non-starters made up the bulk of the scoring in the final period as well for Chicago, which snapped a four-game road losing steak.

"The Bulls are very talented," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We're 0-3 against Cleveland and two of their starters from those games are now coming off Chicago's bench. The trade has made them very deep. They are very athletic."

With the score tied at 82-82 entering the fourth, the Bulls went on a 7-0 spurt, capped by a follow shot by Tyrus Thomas to give them an 89-82 advantage just 1:27 into the period. Nocioni had the first six points of the quarter.

The run was part of an overall burst by Chicago, which trailed, 74-63, with 6:56 left in the third before going on a 26-8 spurt, which was capped by seven at the beginning of the fourth.

"Obviously, it was a huge win for us," Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. "The chemistry is coming together a little bit. The guys are really determined. We have to continue to move the ball and play with each other and we could be a pretty good offensive team."

Later in the period, Chicago went on an 8-2 mini-burst capped by a three-point play by Nocioni to go up 97-87 with 7:22 left.

Gooden, who had 10 points and 15 boards off the bench, also converted a three-point play, and Hughes had a bucket in the run as the Bulls built their largest lead of the contest.

Hughes, who connected on 10-of-19 from the floor, nailed three 3-pointers for Chicago, which shot 47 percent (41-of-87).

"Larry got hot and he made some nice plays, and we tried to keep getting him the ball," Gordon said. "You can definitely see the potential that we have with our offensive firepower."

After a modest adjustment, Hughes is beginning to get a good feel of his new teammates.

"I'm happy being on the Bulls," Hughes said. "Obviously, we did a lot of winning in Cleveland, and I gained a lot of experience, but I was ready for a change. I like the position that I'm in here.

"The guys have helped us (me and Gooden) out since we've come over. It is a new terminology, different sets. We just need a little time to translate everything. But it comes down to just playing basketball."

Mike Dunleavy ran off seven straight points for Indiana to cut its deficit to 97-94 with 5:50 remaining. However, Hughes made two baskets - including a three - wrapped around a foul shot by Luol Deng to put Chicago back up by nine just 39 seconds later to again give the Bulls a comfortable working margin.

"We played with a lot of energy but just didn't get the job done," Pacers forward Danny Granger said. "The Bulls additions really brought a total improvement and made them very deep and able to substitute freely towards the end. We just lost."

Deng had 16 points and six rebounds for the visitors, who also shot 9-of-16 from 3-point range and had previously lost 17 of their last 19 games in Indiana since Michael Jordan left Chicago in 1998.

Dunleavy scored 25 points and Travis Diener scored a career-high 22 along with nine assists for the Pacers, who have lost nine of their last 11 here.

"We can kick (my career high) out the window because we didn't win the game," Diener said. "We didn't get the job done."

Troy Murphy and Granger scored 19 and 17, respectively, for Indiana, which shot 41 percent (32-of-78).

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