Indianapolis, IN – David West netted a game-high 29 points and pulled down nine rebounds and Paul George recorded a double-double with 21 points and 11 boards, as the Indiana Pacers defeated the Chicago Bulls, 111-101, Monday.
George Hill added 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting and dished out six helpers for the Pacers, who picked up their 14th straight home victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and won their third straight overall. Lance Stephenson contributed 15 points, five assists and four rebounds in the victory.
"I think we're starting to realize to trust each other, make the extra passes and things like that," Hill said. "I think we're all starting to tie together and know that that's what we have to do to be successful."
Marco Belinelli paced Chicago with a season-high 24 points, despite playing on a bad ankle for the majority of the contest, and Nate Robinson added 19 points and nine assists for the Bulls, who lost for the second time in their last three games. Taj Gibson scored 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in defeat.
Hill and George stole the highlights late in the third quarter, as Hill dished out a perfect alley oop pass to George, who caught it for a reverse slam and 83-71 lead with 2:22 left in the stanza. The Pacers headed into the final quarter of play up 87-76.
Chicago, which was without Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich due to injuries, struggled offensively to open up the second half, connecting on just 8-of-22 shots from the floor, while being outscored in the paint, 12-2.
The Pacers led by 14 just seconds into the fourth quarter on Hill's 3-pointer, but the Bulls and Belinelli fought back with a 12-2 run after his jumper brought the visitors within 92-88.
Stephenson had an answer with a trey and two free throws -- in a span of 41 seconds -- helping Indiana grab some breathing room with 6:06 remaining and a 96-88 advantage.
Belinelli again closed the deficit to four points with two minutes left, however, George's dagger 3-pointer with 1:18 to play made it 101-94. Chicago hit 10-of-10 free throws to close out the game the rest of the way en route to improving to 19-3 in home contests this season.
"I'm proud of how we're growing on the offensive end," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "We're shooting over 50 percent over the last five games -- 52 percent tonight. Still a few too many turnovers but I'm pleased with how the ball is moving and the tempo that we're playing. We have to tighten the screws on D' and we'll be pretty good."
Hill's free throws 4 1/2 minutes into the contest increased Indiana's opening edge to 15-4, before the visitors answered with a 25-13 flurry as Marquis Teague's layup to close the first quarter made it 29-28. George provided some spark for the Pacers around the midway point of the stanza, as he stole Deng's errant pass for a fastbreak, only to pass the ball behind his back and through his legs to find a streaking Hill for an easy lay-in.
Action in the second stanza stayed close with five ties, although Indiana ended the first half outscoring the Bulls 10-4 in the final 3:36 to take a 60-54 lead into halftime.
Indiana's 14th straight home victory ties the longest for the Pacers since they won 14 in a row from Nov. 28, 2002 - Jan. 26, 2003 ... Chicago became just the second team besides San Antonio, to score in triple digits in regulation play at Indiana this season ... The Bulls fell to 14-8 outside the United Center and are the only team in the league with a better road record than at home ... Hinrich is expected to miss one week after having an infection cleaned out of his right elbow in Chicago on Saturday, while Noah missed his third straight game due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.