Chandler Breaks Out as Bulls Top Pacers
Chicago 101, Indiana 89
INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 21 (Ticker) -- Tyson Chandler's best game of the season ended one of the worst streaks in Chicago Bulls' history.
Chandler had a season-high 15 points and 14 rebounds as the Bulls ended a 17-game losing streak in the Hoosier State with a 101-89 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
"I thought it was a great effort. Tyson was a big lift," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "I thought maybe that he had his best game of the year."
Since signing a six-year, $65 million contract in the offseason, Chandler has been a huge disappointment. He has averaged 4.5 points and 7.4 rebounds this season and has battled foul trouble on almost a nightly basis.
"I felt comfortable. I felt like myself again," Chandler said. "I knew as long as I continued to put in the effort, things would come around. As a team we were aggressive tonight defensively. Sometimes, focusing hard on defense creates things on offense. The key was that we stayed aggressive on both ends all night."
In last week's loss to Indiana, the 7-1 Chandler had five fouls and a turnover in four-plus minutes. However, he made the most of an opportunity to start, responding with his first double-double since Dec. 2 at Boston.
"We did a great job of collapsing and a great job on the glass," Skiles said. "We had a big advantage on the boards and Tyson was a big part of that, especially on the offensive end. We were all scrappy tonight."
Chandler made 7-of-9 shots and collected eight offensive rebounds - three more than Indiana. He also blocked two shots and backstopped the defensive stand that gave the Bulls control of the game.
"We were out there moving around, scrambling, and communicating," Chandler said. "That's the difference between tonight's game and some of our recent losses. The guards knew what was supposed to happen and our bigs did a good job reacting to the situations. We played a good team game tonight."
"They took the game to us," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "It just looked like they were everywhere and our feet were stuck in the mud."
The Bulls had lost their first 12 visits to Conseco Fieldhouse. Their last win here was March 17, 1998, when the Pacers played at Market Square Arena.
"Tonight, we really showed what we're capable of," said Bulls guard Chris Duhon, who scored nine points. "It shows that we haven't given our full effort all year. Some games we bring it and some we don't. Sustaining that effort is big for this team. Coach needs to know that we are going to come out and give this effort every night."
A 3-pointer by Austin Croshere pulled Indiana into a 61-61 tie with 5:01 left in the third quarter before Chicago tightened the screws. Over the next 10 minutes, the Bulls opened an 85-69 lead as Chandler contributed a pair of baskets, four rebounds, a block and solid defense on Jermaine O'Neal.
A jumper by Stephen Jackson finally ended Indiana's drought at the seven-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Nocioni responded with consecutive hoops to give Chicago an 89-71 bulge.
"They played well. Give them credit," Jackson said. "Scott Skiles has those kids playing well. They did everything necessary to win."
Jackson scored 21 points and Croshere added 16 for Indiana, which has dropped two in a row. O'Neal, who missed the last three games with a sprained ankle, had 13 points and nine rebounds.
"It was a mistake for me to come back so soon, but you just have such a helpless feeling sitting on the bench and not playing," O'Neal said. "You see your team struggling and you want to go make things better, but I think I made things worse tonight.