INDIANAPOLIS -- It didn't come easily, but the Indiana Pacers took a significant step in their quest to win the Central Division on Sunday.
The Pacers had to hold off the Chicago Bulls 97-92 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Power forward David West led the Pacers with 31 points, and George Hill added 21 points for Indiana.
Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli scored 20 points each for Chicago.
With Indiana holding a three-point lead, Hill had a chance to ice the game with two free throws, but he missed both with 13.3 seconds left.
The Bulls got the rebound and immediately advanced the ball into the front court. Belinelli missed a 3-pointer with 7.0 seconds left, but the ball went out of bounds off a Pacer, giving Chicago another chance. Tyler Hansbrough poked the ball away from Chicago's Vladimir Radmanovic. West gained possession and was immediately fouled. He made both free throws to seal the victory for the Pacers.
The Pacers have a four-game lead - five games with the tiebreaker -- over the Bulls in the division.
The Bulls were without Kirk Hinrich, Richard Hamilton, Taj Gibson and former league MVP Derrick Rose
The Pacers led by as many as 13 points, but the Bulls came back to tie the score twice in the fourth quarter.
The Pacers found a way to respond each time it appeared they were going to lose the lead.
The Pacers had a 90-89 lead when Hill made two free throws to increase the margin to three points. They forced the Bulls into a 24-second violation, and took a 94-89 lead with 32.2 seconds left when West grabbed his own miss and put it back in.
NOTES: The short-handed Bulls had even more health problems against the Pacers on Sunday. Hinrich was a late scratch with a foot injury, and Hamilton stayed in Chicago with back problems. The Bulls were already without Rose (knee) and sixth man Gibson (knee)...Pacers small forward Danny Granger was back in the lineup Sunday after only playing 10 minutes against Toronto on Friday because of soreness in his left knee. ...The Bulls didn't arrive in Indianapolis until around noon on Sunday, because mechanical problems on their charter plane had forced them to return to Chicago on Saturday night.