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Pacers 97, Bulls 80

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Forward Paul George scored 21 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Chicago Bulls 97-80 Wednesday night and remain the NBA's only undefeated team.

George made just six of 19 shots from the field, but he had six rebounds and played excellent defense against Bulls guard Derrick Rose in the fourth quarter.

Forward David West added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and guard Lance Stephenson scored 12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter for the Pacers (5-0).

Rose scored 17 points, but he made just one of six shots in the second half and was 0-for-2 in the fourth quarter while George, one of the league's best perimeter defenders, hounded him.

Forward Luol Deng scored 17 points and guard Kirk Hinrich added 12 for the Bulls (1-3).

Stephenson, who started the night 1-for-11 from the field, hit a 3-pointer to give Indiana the lead in the fourth quarter. Forward Luis Scola followed with a mid-range jumper to give the Pacers a 72-69 lead with 6:16 to go.

A steal and layup by Scola pushed the lead to five, and another 3-pointer by Stephenson gave Indiana a 77-69 edge. Stephenson bolted downcourt and scored on an acrobatic layup to give the Pacers an 85-73 lead. The Pacers' largest lead was 19 points.

The game went back and forth for the first three quarters.

The Bulls opened the second quarter on a 14-2 run, fueled by six points from reserve forward Taj Gibson. Indiana made just one basket in the first six minutes of the period.

Rose, who entered the game shooting 29 percent from the field, made five of nine shots in the first half. Gibson scored seven points in the second quarter to help the Bulls take a 43-37 lead at halftime.

The Pacers, playing the second of back-to-back games, were careful with their starters' minutes in the first half. George and center Roy Hibbert only played five minutes in the second quarter.

The Pacers started off hot in the second half. Stephenson hit a 3-pointer to cut Indiana's deficit to a point, then George went strong to the hole, scored and was fouled. He made the free throw to put Indiana up 47-45.

Rose put the Bulls back ahead with a driving layup after a nice hesitation move. He was fouled and made the free throw.

Indiana answered. A 3-pointer from George from the right corner, with his right arm remaining in the air well after the release, gave the Pacers a 56-51 edge with 4:55 left in the third quarter and forced the Bulls to call timeout.

Chicago rallied and trailed 63-62 at the end of the quarter.

NOTES: Pacers F Danny Granger sat out again due to a strained left calf. He hasn't played this season. F Lance Stephenson is performing well in his place. ... Pacers G George Hill sat out for the third consecutive game because of a sore left hip. Former Bulls G C.J. Watson started in his place. ... Bulls G Derrick Rose made his return from a torn left ACL in the preseason against Indiana. The Bulls beat the Pacers in both preseason meetings.
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