Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/6

Game 1: Saturday, November 6th
Game 2: Saturday, December 18th
Game 3: Saturday, March 26th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 20th

Pacers 96

(35-34, 15-20 away)

Bulls 100

(37-31, 21-13 home)

    7:30 PM ET, March 26, 2005

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 23 22 23 2896
    CHI 33 22 20 25100

    Top Performers

    Ind: S. Jackson 34 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Chi: E. Curry 27 Pts, 6 Reb

    Jackson has 34 in loss

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Eddy Curry was nearly perfect in leading the Chicago Bulls to their fifth straight victory.

    Curry scored a season-high 27 points as the Bulls beat the Indiana Pacers 100-96 on Saturday night, to move to a season-high six games over .500 and close in on their first playoff berth since winning the 1998 championship. Chicago is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 14 games to play.

    "Eddy kind of took control of those guys in the paint," said Chicago coach Scott Skiles. "I thought Eddy was really bouncing around well tonight."

    Curry was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 22 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. He scored 14 of the team's first 19 points, capped off by a spin move and baseline dunk to make it 19-7 with 5:59 left.

    Curry sat for the entire fourth quarter after getting hit on the side of his right knee at the end of the third.

    "I think I took a knee from (Jeff) Foster (or Austin Croshere)," Curry said. "It's kind of swollen right now but we don't think there's any major damage there."

    Curry's career high is 31 points, which looked easily reachable.

    "I wasn't even thinking about it," he said of his point total. "Honestly, I was just trying to get a win and provide some post presence down there and my teammates did a great job of looking for me."

    The Bulls had a comfortable lead for most of the fourth quarter, but short-handed Indiana made it interesting at the end. Pacers' guard Fred Jones made a running jumper with 30 seconds left that cut the lead to 94-90. He was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw.

    After a Bulls turnover, Stephen Jackson missed a 3-pointer and Ben Gordon hit 3-of-4 free throws to increased the lead to 97-90. Jackson then hit a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left to cut the lead to four, but Gordon then hit 2 more free throws. Gordon had 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. It was an NBA-leading 20th time this season he's scored double-digits in the fourth quarter.

    Jackson then hit another 3 to make it 99-96 with 4 seconds left. Luol Deng split a pair of free throws to ice it.

    Jackson finished with a season-high 34 to lead the Pacers, who were seriously undermanned. Reggie Miller got ejected from the game with 3:08 left in the second quarter for arguing. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle got hit with a pair of technicals for arguing the call and was ejected as well.

    "It's definitely hard," Jackson said. "We're already without (Jamaal Tinsley), Ron (Artest) and (Jermaine O'Neal). When Reggie goes, that really hurts us, because he's our primary scorer right now."

    Chicago led 55-45 at the half but the Pacers quickly cut into the lead. Indiana started the third quarter on a 7-2 run and Jones' 3-pointer made it 57-54.

    Curry then missed a pair of free throws but converted a 3-point play on the next possession. Croshere matched that with a 3-pointer, but Curry jammed home a rebound and Deng hit a 19-foot jumper to make it 64-57.

    Croshere's dunk made it 66-61, but Gordon followed with a 3 to make it an 8-point game with 2:48 left in the third quarter.<

    Othella Harrington finished with 14 points and Deng added 13 as the Bulls' backups outscored the Pacers' reserves 56-27.

    Game notes

    Miller's probable last game in Chicago ended early. It was his first ejection of the season and he finished with 8 points in 13 minutes. Carlisle's was his second ejection of the season. Miller's ejection shocked him and then he thought he only earned one technical for arguing. "I was surprised which is part of the reason I reacted as I did," Carlisle said ... Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich missed his third straight game with a left hamstring strain. Skiles said he should be ready for Monday's home game against Memphis and does not plan on placing him on the injured list.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 96 100
    FGM-FGA 33-80 (.413) 32-80 (.400)
    3PM-3PA 9-28 (.321) 1-13 (.077)
    FTM-FTA 21-28 (.750) 35-42 (.833)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-40 13-48
    Assists 15 19
    Turnovers 13 15
    Steals 9 7
    Blocks 4 4
    Fast Break Points 4 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (5/0) 24 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 0 15

    Top Performers

    Stephen Jackson Jackson
    Points: 34
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1
    Eddy Curry Curry
    Points: 27
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0