Rose, Bulls call time on Pacers’ perfect start to season

AP

Derrick Rose came to work unsure if he’d be able to play.

He left with his confidence intact and his team’s future looking very bright.

Luol Deng scored 23 points, Rose added 20 and the Chicago Bulls knocked off the NBA’s last unbeaten team with a 110-94 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Taj Gibson had 15 points and eight rebounds for Chicago (5-3), which won its fourth straight game behind 11-of-19 shooting from 3-point range.

“We got off to a good start,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “(The Pacers) missed some shots that they usually make. Overall, I thought it was a good win. We played very unselfishly.”

Indiana (9-1) was the NBA’s first 9-0 team since the 2002-03 Dallas Mavericks, who started 14-0. The nine wins to start a season matched a franchise record.

Nursing a sore right hamstring, Rose was effective in his 30 minutes on the court. He weaved around and penetrated the league’s best defense, which hadn’t allowed more than 91 points to any opponent this year.

Rose was injured Monday against Cleveland, and did not play in Chicago’s 96-80 win Friday at Toronto.

“I was just being smart about the situation,” he said about not playing Friday. “This is my first time having a hamstring injury. I don’t know how it would go if I had played last night. I don’t think I’d be able to play tonight.”

The 25-year-old former MVP shook off the rust after a pair of early off-balance misses. He sank a floater in the lane 3 minutes in, followed by a 3-pointer 30 seconds later to ignite a 12-2 first-quarter run for Chicago.

“They were giving me shots,” Rose said. “I’ve got to take those shots. I saw some go in, so I kept shooting.”

Rose cozied up at the 3-point arc in the second quarter, knocking down all three attempts as the Bulls took a 25-point advantage into the half. He finished 6-for-11 from beyond the arc.

“Most of Rose’s 3s were pretty well contested considering his speed,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel contended. “You can’t just jam him. You have to give up something. You have to give them credit.”

Kirk Hinrich came off the bench to contribute 13 points, eight assists and four rebounds for the Bulls, who avenged a 97-80 loss at Indiana on Nov. 6.

The Pacers lost despite having all five starters — and two reserves — score in double-digits.

Roy Hibbert led Indiana with 14 points a day after posting season-highs with 24 points and eight blocks.

Chicago held Paul George to 12 points. He entered the game seventh in the NBA with 24.6 points per game. George and Lance Stephenson combined to miss all seven of their 3-point attempts, and the team made just 25 percent.

“I understand I’m going to have nights like this when shots aren’t falling,” George said. “I just don’t want to have many.”

Heat 97, Bobcats 81

In Charlotte, LeBron James scored 30 points to help Miami beat the Bobcats for the 13th straight time.

With Mario Chalmers suspended, Chris Bosh limited due to foul trouble, Ray Allen out with the flu and Dwyane Wade a non-factor, James came up big for the Heat. The four-time MVP was 13 of 18 from the field and had seven assists in his eighth 20-point game this season.

Clippers 110, Nets 103

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 30 points and 12 rebounds, J.J. Redick added 26 points and the Clippers rallied to beat short-handed Brooklyn to impove to 5-0 at home.

DeAndre Jordan had 16 rebounds, Chris Paul added 12 points and 13 assists, and Jamal Crawford had seven of his 13 points in the fourth for the Clippers, who kept the Nets winless against them in Los Angeles since Nov. 15, 2010.

Rockets 122, Nuggets 111

In Houston, Dwight Howard scored 18 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 of 19 free throws in a 2½-minute stretch.

Chandler Parsons added 20 points and James Harden had 17 for the Rockets, who never trailed and led by as many as 23.

Mavericks 108, Magic 100

In Orlando, Monta Ellis had 19 points and eight assists.

Dirk Nowitzki and DeJuan Blair added 18 apiece for the Mavericks.

Warriors 102, Jazz 88

In Oakland, Klay Thompson scored 25 points, Andre Iguodala had 16 points and six rebounds, and Golden State built a big lead before holding off Utah for its third straight victory.

Stephen Curry added 15 points and 11 assists and Andrew Bogut had 12 points and 11 rebounds to help the Warriors go ahead by 19 points late in the second quarter. The Jazz came back within seven in the third quarter before Golden State pulled away.

Hawks 110, Knicks 90

In New York, Jeff Teague scored 16 points to lead eight players in double figures, and Atlanta sent the Knicks to their fifth straight home loss.

Paul Millsap, back in the starting lineup, had 14 points and 13 rebounds as the Hawks shot 56 percent and won for the fourth time in five games. They avenged the loss during that span, a 95-91 Knicks victory in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Cavaliers 103, Wizards 96 (OT)

In Washington, Kyrie Irving scored nine of his 41 points in overtime to help Cleveland snap a three-game skid.

Irving scored seven straight points on three possessions in overtime to give the Cavaliers the lead for good. He later added a 6-meter jumper to match his career high and finish 14 of 28 from the floor and 4 of 7 from beyond the arc.

Timberwolves 106, Celtics 88

In Minneapolis, Kevin Love had 23 points and 12 rebounds and Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and 12 boards.

Kevin Martin scored 20 on 6-for-18 shooting and Dante Cunningham scored 12 off the bench to help the Timberwolves rebound from a tough loss in Denver the previous night.

Pelicans 135, 76ers 98

In New Orleans, Anthony Davis had 13 points, nine rebounds and a career-high eight blocks in less than three quarters, helping the Pelicans emphatically snap a three-game skid.

Thunder 92, Bucks 79

In Milwaukee, Russell Westbrook scored 26 points and Kevin Durant added 24 as Oklahoma City snapped a two-game skid.

The Thunder were coming off back-to-back road losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. Serge Ibaka had 15 points and equaled a career high with 20 rebounds.