"We have 15 guys who can play basketball," Jones said. "We
know how to play."
With five players sitting out and both All-Stars on the bench
with foul trouble, a group of role players went on a big run to
extend Indiana's lead in the Pacers' 100-90 win over the Chicago
Bulls on Saturday night.
Jones hit three 3-pointers during the 19-6 spurt in the third
quarter, and Stephen Jackson led the way with 24 points and four
steals to help the banged-up Pacers open the season with three
straight wins for the first time since 1995-96.
"I don't think we're supposed to lose to nobody, as deep as we
are," Jackson said.
Indiana was up 62-57 with just over six minutes to play when Ron
Artest and Jermaine O'Neal both picked up their fourth fouls.
Croshere got a dunk, then Tinsley stole the inbounds pass and
found Jones for a wide open 3-pointer that gave Indiana a 71-61
Tinsley then made a driving layup, and Jones added two more
3-pointers to give Indiana a 17-point advantage.
After Jones, who finished with 14 points, hit his third
3-pointer in the final three minutes of the third quarter, Bulls
coach Scott Skiles crouched on the sidelines, rubbing his forehead
"Usually it's only a matter of time before they pull away,"
Skiles said. "They pulled away. We fought back, we just didn't
have enough for them."
It's been a rough start for the Bulls, who were coming off a
double-overtime loss to New Jersey on Friday.
Chicago committed 24 turnovers and made just 14 of 42 shots (33
percent) in the second half.
Luol Deng again was impressive for Chicago. The rookie from Duke
had 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting and five rebounds to lead the
"It's a simple game for Luol," Skiles said. "He's one of
those guys that shoots when he's open and passes when he's covered.
I know that sounds ridiculously simple, but there are a lot of guys
in the league that don't know that."
Pacers rookie Harrison made his first career start for center
Scot Pollard, who missed the game with a sore back. It was the
latest in a long line of injuries for the Pacers.
That didn't make a difference on Saturday. The Pacers just
leaned on Jackson, who was 8-for-13 from the floor, and Jones, who
was 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
"It is tough when their main guys are getting breathers and
those guys come in and hold up the fort," said Ben Gordon, who
scored 17 points.
O'Neal, who finished third in the MVP voting last season, was
used as a reserve for the second straight game while he works to
get his sore left foot healthy. He finished with 15 points and 10
"I think it's definitely attributed to the strength of our
bench," Croshere said of the team's fast start. "This is becoming
a trademark for this team."
Just like in their season-opener against New Jersey, Chicago
The Bulls opened the fourth with an 8-3 run to pull to 85-75,
but they didn't have enough left after erasing a 27-point deficit
against the Nets to force overtime a night earlier.
"Overall, I thought we played really hard, especially after
last night," Skiles said. "We had a lot of guys do a lot of good
things out there."
After scoring a career-high 34 points against the Nets, Bulls
guard Hinrich managed just 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting, with
seven assists and eight turnovers before fouling out with over nine
minutes to play.
Tinsley had nine points and 12 assists for the Pacers.
Bulls forward Andres Nocioni left the game in the fourth
quarter with a bruised back and is listed as day-to-day. ... The
Pacers unveiled their 2003-04 Central Division championship banner.
... The Bulls have lost 13 straight at Indiana. ... Bulls forwards
Eddy Curry and Antonio Davis served the second of their two-game
suspensions for their roles in a preseason fight. They'll make
their season debuts on Tuesday against Phoenix.