Desperation rallied Bulls to win says Luol Deng

Derrick Rose and Luol Deng pave way for Chicago Bulls win over Indiana Pacers in third quarter of NBA game.

Luol Deng scored 20 points for Chicago Bulls on Monday night.
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A sensational third quarter by Derrick Rose and the Bulls denied the Indiana Pacers any chance of a second straight win in Chicago.

Luol Deng scored 20 points, teaming with Rose in a decisive rally that sent Chicago to their seventh straight victory, 92-72 over the Pacers on Monday night.

"We had a lot more energy in the second half than we did in the first half," Deng said.

Rose added 13 points and nine assists, hitting three 3-pointers while Deng had two in the third as the Bulls blew open a close game.

"We fought our way back into the game," Rose said. "Our energy was kind of low and shots weren't falling. But we rebounded the ball and finished the game pretty good."

Joakim Noah had 17 rebounds to lead the Bulls to a dominating 60-32 edge on the boards. Chicago outscored the Pacers 20-4 on second-chance points. John Lucas III scored 13 points, one of three Chicago reserves in double figures.

"We struggled offensively in the first half," said Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls coach. "In the third quarter, we had great energy and imposed our will. The rebounding is what got us over the hump."

Paul George scored 21 points for Indiana, which had a six-game winning streak snapped. George Hill scored 17 points off the bench.

"Give credit to the Bulls," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "They had all the hustle stats. Won all the loose balls and obviously kicked our butts on the glass."

The Bulls improved their league-best record to 32-8. Chicago stretched its lead to two-and-a-half games over Miami atop the Eastern Conference and to seven games over Indiana in the Central Division.

The Pacers were trying to win a seventh straight game for the first time in eight years.

"They really picked it up defensively," George said. "We deferred to them. Everybody on their side stepped up when we somewhat had Derrick Rose contained. Everybody else stepped up."

Chicago avenged a 95-90 loss to the Pacers on Jan. 25, one of just two home losses this season. Rose was irked after that game because of what he perceived to be Indiana's excessive celebration on the court after the game ended, saying "I can't wait till we play them again."

"You don't want to lose to a team twice in a row," Deng said. "Especially a team that we might face in the play-offs."

After the game, Rose sounded was more conciliatory.

"They're a good team," Rose said. "The last time we played them, they beat us here. Now we just have to deal with them. They put up a fight every time we play them. We're used to. I think it makes us better as a team."

Thunder 95, Mavericks 91

At Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook scored 24 points and Kevin Durant added 22 as Oklahoma City scored the final eight points to extend its home winning streak to 13 games.

Westbrook answered Dirk Nowitzki's fourth 3-pointer of the final period by hitting one of his own from the right wing to get the Thunder within 91-90 with 2:25 remaining, and Dallas didn't score again.

Serge Ibaka hit two free throws with 46 seconds left to give Oklahoma City the lead, and Jason Terry missed two shots down the stretch for the Mavericks.

Nowitzki finished with 27 points but didn't touch the ball on a key possession when Dallas was down by two with 13 seconds left.

Timeberwolves 95, Clippers 94

Kevin Love had 39 points and 17 rebounds to carry the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 95-94 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Darko Milicic had 13 points in a spot start for the injured Nikola Pekovic and Michael Beasley scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter for the Wolves.

Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds, but scored just four in the final period for the Clippers. Mo Williams scored 19 points for Los Angeles, which outrebounded Minnesota 52-43. Three of the Clippers' 14 losses this season have come to Minnesota.

Bucks 97, 76ers 93

At Milwaukee, Beno Udrih hit a go-ahead jumper with just under a minute left as Milwaukee held off Philadelphia's late comeback.

Brandon Jennings had 33 points and Drew Gooden added 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who have been stuck in a funk for a little more than a month. Since beating the Miami Heat on Feb. 1, Milwaukee had lost 12 of its last 16 games coming into Monday night's game.

Lou Williams had 26 points for the 76ers, who were coming off a narrow home loss to Chicago on Sunday and have lost eight of 10.

Nuggets 119, Kings 116, OT

At Denver, Arron Afflalo hit three free throws with 0.6 seconds left in regulation and Ty Lawson made a 3-pointer with 4 seconds to go in overtime as Denver improved to 4-0 since the All-Star break.

Afflalo finished with a career-high 32 points for the Nuggets.

Lawson came up with the clutch basket for the second straight night, finishing with 16 points and 13 assists.

Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans each had 27 points for the Kings.

Magic 92, Raptors 88

At Toronto, Dwight Howard had 36 points and 13 rebounds, and Ryan Anderson added 19 points and 13 boards as Orlando won for the fifth time in seven games.

JJ Redick scored 13 points, making a key 3 pointer in the final 10 seconds, and Jameer Nelson had 11 for the Magic, who have won nine of their last 12.

DeMar DeRozan scored 23 for the Raptors, who have not won back-to-back games since road wins over Phoenix and Utah on Jan. 24 and 25. Toronto has gone 6-13 since.

Jerryd Bayless scored 15 and James Johnson had 13 for Toronto, while Aaron Gray had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Jazz 109, Cavaliers 100

At Cleveland, Al Jefferson scored 25 points and Gordon Hayward added 23 as Utah handed Cleveland its sixth straight loss.

Utah snapped a six-game road losing streak with only its fourth victory away from home in 17 games.

Rookie Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 22 points - 21 in the second half. He scored 13 points in the third quarter.

Warriors 120, Wizards 100

At Washington, Monta Ellis scored 25 points and Klay Thompson added 18 to lead Golden State past Washington.

David Lee had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors, who had six players in double figures.

It was Golden State's highest-scoring game since beating Toronto 138-100 on March 25, 2011.

Nick Young scored 25 points, 15 in the fourth quarter, and John Wall had 20 points and 14 assists for Washington, which lost for the seventh time in eight games.

Trail Blazers 86, Hornets 74

At Portland, Oregon, Nicolas Batum scored 19 points as Portland snapped a three-game losing streak.

LaMarcus Aldridge, who had just two points and three rebounds in the first half, finished with 10 points and 11 boards the Trail Blazers, who led by as many as 26 points and got a morale-boosting victory before heading out on a seven-game, 12-night road trip. Aldridge did not play in the fourth quarter.

Marco Belinelli had 18 points for New Orleans, which has lost four of its last five games. At 9-29, the injury-depleted Hornets have the worst record in the Western Conference. Chris Kaman had 10 points and 11 rebounds.