for this game

Pacers rally to drop Bulls

Mar 23, 2008 - 4:44 AM By Rory Spears PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHICAGO (Ticker) - Mike Dunleavy scored 25 points and Troy Murphy added 24 to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 108-101 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

Danny Granger added 18 points for the Pacers, who extended their winning streak to a season-best four games. Indiana had not posted four consecutive wins since the 2005-2006 season.

As a result, the Pacers (29-41) are 1 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Hawks (30-39) for the final playoff spot in the East.

"This is a much needed win for our guys," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "I am proud of them for hanging around when we down 13 points. If we make the playoffs, we will look back at this fourth quarter."

Luol Deng scored 28 points and Ben Gordon added 21 for Chicago (27-42), which fell three games behind the Hawks.

"I wish I knew why this keeps happening," Deng said about his team's latest fourth-quarter collapse. "If we knew why we would do something about it, all we can do is try to move forward."

The Pacers had to do it the hard way, coming back in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Bulls, 35-17. Chicago held a 13-point lead, 88-75, early in the fourth quarter but was unable to hold on.

"This is a huge win for us," Granger said. "When we are battling for a playoff spot, winning four straight feels very good."

Murphy had the same thought.

"This feels good since they came back and beat us at home the last time we played them," Murphy said. "Right now, we are moving the ball well and hitting our threes."

Shawne Williams scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, including a jumper to give Indiana its first lead of the second half, 96-95, with 2:58 to play. He then ignited an 8-0 run with a 3-pointer to make it 99-97 and the Pacers never trailed thereafter.

"Shawne was great coming in off the bench for us," O'Brien said. "He gave us a big lift in the fourth quarter."

Indiana jumped out to a 10-6 lead on Dunleavy's 3-pointer with 7:49 left in the opening quarter. Chicago then responded with a 10-2 run capped by Deng's jumper en route to a 28-27 lead after the first quarter.

The half ended with the game tied at 55-55 when Chicago's Thabo Sefolosha had a layup reversed by video review which would have given the Bulls a 57-55 lead. Sefolosha's shot was ruled to have left his hand just after the buzzer.

The third quarter began with the teams trading baskets. Finally, Chicago pulled ahead with a 17-7 run to take a 81-71 lead with 2:45 left in the period to take its largest lead of the game.

"The third quarter we started doing some good things," Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. "Then, the shots we made in the third quit going in for us, this is a devastating loss for us."

Chicago's Andres Nocioni played only the first 2:44 of the second quarter before being taken out of the game by Boylan. Nocioni had words with his coach when leaving the game and was sent to the locker room for the remainder of the night as a result.

"When I was taken out, I didn't handle it well," Nocioni said. "I have already apologized to everyone for my actions, that's all I have to say."

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