Chicago Bulls beat Indiana Pacers for seventh consecutive victory

Chicago Bulls beat Indiana Pacers for seventh consecutive victory

Jimmy Butler scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds and the Chicago Bulls held off a late rally to beat Indiana 92-90 Monday for their seventh consecutive NBA victory.

Spanish star Pau Gasol added 20 points while Derrick Rose contributed 17 despite 5-of-20 shooting for the visiting Bulls, who improved to 22-9, two games behind Toronto for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls nearly squandered a 21-point lead with a sluggish fourth quarter in which they were outscored 25-11.

A 3-point play by Chicago`s Mike Dunleavy, who pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, put the Bulls ahead 75-54 late in the third quarter, but Chicago missed an unprecedented 17 shots in a row until Gasol broke the futility streak with a turnaround jumper with 3:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.

While the Bulls went silent, the Pacers scored 20 points in a row at one stretch, with Lavoy Allen`s layup midway into the final period putting Indiana in front and Luis Scola`s basket putting the Pacers ahead 86-83.

Butler sank a 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining to put the Bulls back on top and C.J. Watson missed a baseline 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game for Indiana.

Chris Copeland came off the bench to lead Indiana`s six double-figure scorers with 17 points, netting 13 of them in the fourth quarter.

The Pacers slid to 11-21, 11 1/2 games behind the pace-setting Bulls in the Central division.

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