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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.