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Indiana tops shorthanded Bulls for 14th straight at fieldhouse


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INDIANAPOLIS — With the Central Division lead on the line, the Indiana Pacers had the Chicago Bulls right where they wanted them: in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Seems the Pacers can beat anybody there.

David West scored a game-high 29 points, and George Hill added 22 to lift the Pacers to a 111-101 victory Monday night in the sold-out fieldhouse.

Extending a streak that began in early December, the Pacers (29-19) won for the 14th straight time at home and drew into a first-place tie with Chicago (29-19) for the division lead.

Moreover, the victory was the Pacers’ second straight against a visiting Eastern Conference power. They beat the defending NBA champion Miami Heat 102-89 on Feb. 1 and are now tied with the Bulls for the third-best record in the East.

Indiana is only 3½ games behind Miami for the East lead.

With a parade of home games on the horizon, the Pacers have a chance to climb further up the conference ladder. They play 10 of their next 13 at home, beginning tonight against the Atlanta Hawks (26-20).

Indiana is 19-3 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They have not lost there since Dec. 7.

In their latest win, the Pacers were efficient offensively and continued another recent trend of controlling the boards. They shot 53 percent from the field and outrebounded the Bulls 47-35.

Besides West and Hill, the Pacers got a big performance from recent All-Star selection Paul George. He had 21 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals, two blocked shots and — more importantly — made a critical 3-pointer with 1:18 to play that broke open what had been a close game in the closing minutes.

George’s 3-pointer gave Indiana 101-94 lead and set the stage for the Pacers to seal it at the foul line. West, George, Hill and backup point guard D.J. Augustin combined for 10 free throws with no misses in the final 1:05 secure the outcome.

Lance Stephenson finished with 15 points for Indiana and was the only other Pacers player in double figures.

Chicago, which played without All-Star center Joakim Noah, was led by Marco Belinelli, who had 24 points off the bench.

Nate Robinson led all five starters in double figures with 19, followed by Luol Deng with 13.

Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson and Richard Hamilton had 10 points each for the Bulls.

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