Markkanen scores 32 as Bulls beat Pacers 119-107

ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 30, 2017 11:35 AM
Markkanen scores 32 as Bulls beat Pacers 119-107
Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (24) goes to the basket against Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

CHICAGO (AP) — Rookie Lauri Markkanen scored a career-high 32 points, Nikola Mirotic added 28 and the surging Chicago Bulls beat the Indiana Pacers 119-107 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) for their third consecutive win.

Hot-shooting Chicago made 18-of-39 three-point attempts in its 10th win in 12 games. Robin Lopez and Bobby Portis each scored 12 points, helping the Bulls to their seventh straight home win for their longest such streak since a seven-game run spanning two seasons in 2013.

It was the first meeting between the teams since Indiana erased a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter of a 98-96 victory on Dec. 6 (Dec. 7, PHL time). It might have been the lowest point of the season on the court so far for the suddenly-interesting Bulls (13-22), and they gained a measure of revenge by turning away another charge by the Pacers in the fourth quarter.

Darren Collison scored 30 points for Indiana (19-17), which has dropped three in a row and four of six. Lance Stephenson had 18 points and nine rebounds, and Domantas Sabonis finished with 14 points and nine boards.

Stephenson started in place of Victor Oladipo, who missed his second straight game because of a sore right knee. Oladipo, who is averaging a team-high 24.9 points in his first season with the Pacers, also is doubtful for Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) matchup with Minnesota.

"He needs to rest the knee and we have to give him some time here," coach Nate McMillan said.

The Bulls also played without a key guard after Kris Dunn was scratched because of left knee tendinitis. But Jerian Grant stepped into the starting lineup and finished with 11 points and 12 assists.

Chicago opened a 103-84 lead on David Nwaba's layup with 7:46 left. Indiana then ripped off 11 of the next 14 points to close to 106-95 on Stephenson's basket with 4:49 remaining.

But Mirotic responded with a layup and Markkanen hit two free throws to run the Bulls' lead back out to 15.


Pacers: Stephenson was 8-for-19 from the field. ... Turner has at least one block in 27 of his 29 games this season.

Bulls: Mirotic went 8-for-16 from three-point range. Markkanen was 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. ... G Zach LaVine, who is coming back from left knee surgery, worked out Thursday and Friday. (Friday and Saturday, PHL time) He is scheduled for six straight days of contact beginning on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), including four days with Chicago's G League affiliate. "Obviously it's a very important part of the process for Zach," coach Fred Hoiberg said, "and hopefully everything goes great, and you know we'll kind of take it from there."


Pacers: Host Minnesota on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The Pacers beat the Timberwolves 130-107 on Oct. 24 (Oct. 25, PHL time).

Bulls: Visit Washington on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) for their first meeting of the season.

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