Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/4/13
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers are back at the top of the Central Division. But it wasn't easy. The Pacers extended their home winning streak to 14 games when they beat the Chicago Bulls 111-101 on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They can make it 15 straight with a victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night. "Give credit to the Bulls for putting up a heck of a fight and being undermanned," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "They play the right way and they share the ball." The Pacers are tied with the Bulls for the Central lead but are credited for being in first place because they hold a 2-0 lead in head-to-head matchups this season. "This was very important," Vogel said. "I really feel like the final two games are going to dictate who is going to win this division. Both of us are going to be right there at the end." David West led all scorers with 29 points. Paul George added 19 points and 11 rebounds. Marco Belinelli came off the bench to score 23 points for Chicago. The Bulls were 12-0 when they scored at least 100 points this season. "It was a rivalry game," Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. "We understand that every time we step on the court with them the two teams have something to prove to the other. We are trying to win our division, they are trying to win the division." The Pacers opened the game like they were ready for a blowout. They made their first six shots from the field, including four 3-pointers, to jump out to a quick 15-4 lead, forcing Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau to take a timeout. "They got off to a good start, we fought back," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. "It came down to plays being made at the end." But just as the short-handed Bulls have done all season, they continued to fight back.Chicago, which was without Joakim Noah (foot) and Derrick Rose (knee), chipped away until it took the lead on a Marquis Teague layup with 0.3 seconds left in the first quarter. The Pacers trailed 29-28 at end of the first quarter despite shooting 71 percent from the field. Indiana continued to trail most of the second quarter until it went up 52-50 on a Lance Stephenson layup with 3:11 left in the first half. The Pacers pushed their lead to six at halftime by shooting 67 percent from the field. Indiana -- again -- looked like it was going to get an easy victory over the Bulls in the third quarter. The Pacers got their lead up to 10 less than five minutes into the third quarter. It eventually grew to 12 with a minute remaining in the third quarter. But once again the Bulls didn't back down. And it wasn't Luol Deng or Carlos Boozer bringing them back. It was Belinelli. Belinelli, who injured an ankle early in the game, went to work on Stephenson with basic fundamental moves to free up enough space to get open shots. Belinelli made back-to-back baskets to get the Bulls to 98-94 with less than two minutes left in the game. "I've got to get better at chasing guys around screens," Stephenson said about his defensive struggles. "I'll get better in that area." The Pacers, meanwhile, went three straight possessions without scoring before George ended the drought by making a 3-pointer on the right wing to give them a 101-94 lead. "He knows that's his play," Vogel said. "He has a great mentality on that play, like he's going to score. That was a big shot." NOTES: Boozer was back in the Chicago starting lineup after missing the past three games with a right hamstring injury. ... Vogel said he'll start thinking about monitoring his players' minutes for Tuesday's game against Atlanta. The Pacers are in the midst of playing back-to-back-to-back games. They complete the three games, which guard George Hill said stinks, Wednesday at Philadelphia. ... George said he does not plan on participating in the Slam Dunk competition during All-Star weekend in Houston.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Twitter, Facebook report engagement decline during Super Bowl

Steve Spurrier becomes special assistant to South Carolina AD

Brent Musberger wants you to bet on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

Unranked Duke uses big first half to beat No.13 Louisville

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games


Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Ten storylines to watch heading into spring training

Seahawks release awesome Marshawn Lynch tribute video

WATCH: Alleged LeSean McCoy fight video surfaces

Daniel Bryan says goodbye to WWE during teary retirement speech

Paul George delivers great line about driving by Kobe Bryant

WATCH: Oklahoma beats Texas on Buddy Hield's 3-pointer

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker