LaVine’s 28 points help Bulls hold Pacers


CHICAGO (AP) –Zach LaVine scored 28 points, including a key 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter that propelled the Bulls to a 124-109 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

The Bulls led by a whopping 24 points in the second half before Pacers guard Buddy Hield hit three 3-pointers that cut the deficit to 95-91 late in the third quarter.

But Indiana forward Terry Taylor was rated with a clear path foul, allowing LaVine to sink two free throws and the Bulls to retain possession. Andre Drummond converted a dunk and Javonte Green got a steal near midfield and finished with a dunk to put the Bulls back into a double-digit lead.

DeMar DeRozan, attempting to become the 50th player in NBA history to hit the 20,000 mark, came within seven of the milestone with a 17-point performance. DeRozan entered the game averaging 26.8, missed his first field goal attempt nearly eight minutes into the first quarter and scored only after converting two free throws in the second.

The Bulls scored a season-high 38 points in the first quarter. Green’s dunk with six minutes left in the quarter gave the Bulls a 23-13 lead which they gradually widened and held until the end of the third quarter.

Pacers center Myles Turner made his season debut with less than two minutes left in the first quarter and immediately blocked a LaVine shot. Indiana coach Rick Carlisle, aware that Turner was returning from an ankle injury, watched his minutes.

But there was little resistance inside as the Bulls scored 30 of their 76 first-half points in the paint. They’ve dished out 19 of their 34 assists in the first two quarters.

Reserve guard Goran Dragic, who had 13 points and five assists, provided a spark with a lobbed pass that Drummond finished with a dunk less than two minutes into the second quarter.

DeRozan will have his next chance at a milestone on Friday at San Antonio, where he played for three seasons before joining the Bulls in 2021.

Hield sank seven 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 24 points.

TIPS

Pacers: C Daniel Theis (painful right knee) returned to the field recently and had a “gradual acceleration,” Carlisle said, adding he will be available soon. Theis felt discomfort while training for his native Germany for the European Championships, Carlisle said.

Bulls: Wednesday marked four weeks since G Lonzo Ball (left knee) had surgery, but there have been none. update provided. “I think the most important thing is the surgery healing the incision and the continued progression,” coach Billy Donovan said. “I just don’t know how far along he is in this process.”

NEXT

Pacers: Visit Washington on Friday

Bulls: visit San Antonio on Friday


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