Gordon Helps Bulls Rally Past Pacers
Chicago 102, Indiana 96
CHICAGO, April 4 (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon always will remember his 23rd birthday.
Gordon scored 16 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Chicago Bulls rallied for a 102-96 victory over the struggling Indiana Pacers.
"It would have been really tough for us if we lost this game with Philadelphia losing," Gordon said. "We made a lot of mistakes through out the game, and we knew we could have played a lot better. Fortunately, we made some plays down the stretch and got the victory."
After David Harrison made two free throws with 8:52 remaining to give the Pacers a seemingly comfortable 90-73 lead, the Bulls reeled off a 19-2 run.
"It was just a great comeback," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "Their defense was active, but we finally got it going. We started to get some stops and then Ben was just huge."
Gordon, who drilled two 3-pointers in the surge, capped the surge with a steal and layup at the 3:12 mark to tie the game.
"It was one of those times you feel like you just can't miss," Gordon said. "You don't hear the crowd or anything, you just zone in and focus on the game."
Jeff Foster made a jumper with 88 seconds left to give the Pacers a 96-95 edge. But 11 seconds later, Gordon responded to give the Bulls the lead for good.
"Ben is one of the most unique players I've seen," Skiles said. "It is uncanny how one moment he is out there and not having a good game, then all of a sudden he just starts throwing in shots."
Following two missed free throws by Jermaine O'Neal, Andres Nocioni converted a left-handed layup for a 99-96 with 32 seconds to go. On the ensuing possession, Chicago forced Indiana - which was out of timeouts - into a five-second violation.
"Our decision making and turnovers were our undoing in the fourth quarter," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We were forcing them to take tough shots, and then we just made terrible errors down the stretch."
With 16 seconds remaining, Gordon drained a wide-open 3-pointer, sealing the Bulls' third straight win.
Gordon made 8-of-13 shots, including four 3-pointers. Kirk Hinrich added 15 points and Nocioni had 14 and 12 rebounds for Chicago, which placed seven players in double figures.
"We just play hard as a team," Hinrich said. "When there was eight minutes left there was still a lot of game to go. We know they are a good team, but a lot of things just went our way."
Stephen Jackson scored 22 points and rookie Danny Granger added 14 for Indiana (35-38), which has lost five straight. The Pacers are seventh in the East, one game in front of Philadelphia and just 1 1/2 ahead of Chicago.
"In the fourth quarter we just got to confident," Jackson said. "You can't be clock watching like we were, you need to keep playing hard like the Bulls and Ben Gordon did. We need to start playing with a sense of urgency, if we keep playing like this it will be an early summer for us."