Pacers vs. Bulls final: Carlos Boozer's double-double guides Bulls past Pacers

USA TODAY Sports

The rest of the Chicago big men stepped up in Joakim Noah's absence as the Bulls won just their second game in their last six tries.

The Chicago Bulls picked up a big victory Saturday night in the race for Eastern Conference playoff positioning, defeating their division rival Indiana Pacers 87-84.

The Bulls went into Saturday's game having lost four of their last five games, including their last two home games. As a result, Chicago had fallen back in to sixth place in the East. Meanwhile, the Pacers are fighting the New York Knicks for second place in the conference. Indiana started off the game in control, taking a 22-16 first quarter lead, looking sharp on both sides of the floor. Down Joakim Noah, who was out due to plantar fasciitis, the Bulls got big contributions from Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng, who combined for 13 of Chicago's 23 second quarter points.

Chicago's front court helped spark a 29 point third quarter. Boozer and Deng traded baskets before Nazr Mohammed, starting for Noah, and Taj Gibson started making baskets as well. Paul George and Roy Hibbert helped keep the game close, combining for 41 of the Pacers' 84 points, but got little help from anyone else. The Indiana offense flat lined in the fourth quarter, scoring just 17 points on 4/16 shooting. George led all scorers with 23 points, while Boozer had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bulls. Deng added 20 points, while Mohammed had 11 points and seven rebounds in Noah's place.

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