Bulls 113, Pacers 107 (F)

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 27 (AP) -- Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden seem to be adapting to their new team just fine.

Hughes had 29 points and Gooden added 10 points and 15 rebounds, helping the Chicago Bulls beat the Indiana Pacers 113-107 on Wednesday night. It was their first victory since the duo was acquired from Cleveland on Feb. 21 as part of a three-team trade.

The Bulls lost their first two games - at Houston and Dallas - following the trade.

"Our chemistry is starting to come together a little bit,'' Chicago coach Jim Boylan said. "There's a lot of things that go into changing a team ... but at the end of the day, it's basketball and they do what they do out there.''

Hughes, who scored 10 points in the third quarter to keep the Bulls close, believes the trade will help further his career.

"I'm happy with it,'' he said. "We did a lot of winning in Cleveland and I gained a lot of good experience, but I was definitely ready for a change. I like the position I'm in now.''

Gooden is starting to warm up to his new team, also.

"Larry was excited, but for me, I didn't know what to expect,'' he said. "I'm getting along with these guys - they're a great group of guys - and I know we have a chance to make a good run at the playoffs.''

With the score tied at 82, the Bulls scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, including five by Andres Nocioni, to open a seven-point lead.

Indiana cut the deficit to 97-94 following seven straight points by Dunleavy with 6 minutes left. The Bulls answered with the next six points, capped by Hughes' 3-pointer, to regain a 103-94 edge.

The Pacers got within 110-105 with 57 seconds left, but Gooden's free throw and Hughes' layup sealed the victory.

"Tonight was a good win for us,'' Boylan said. "We missed 15 free throws and we're still able to win. That shows a lot of grit.''

Pacers guard Travis Diener wasn't surprised by Hughes' big night.

"He's a good player,'' Diener said. "There's a reason he has a big contract. They don't just throw money away to (bad) players.''

Luol Deng finished with 16 points and Ben Gordon scored 15 for the Bulls (23-34).

Mike Dunleavy had 25 points, Diener scored 22 and Troy Murphy chipped in 19 for the slumping Pacers (22-36), who again failed to win a close game in the final minutes.

"We just have to find a way to make plays,'' Diener said. "In the fourth quarter, we kind of slow down for some reason, miss shots, don't get stops. One night it's this; one night it's that.''

After 15 lead changes and 12 ties during the first half, the Pacers took a 57-56 lead into the break following Dunleavy's two free throws late in the second quarter. The Bulls trailed despite shooting 56 percent from the field and holding Indiana to 43 percent in the opening half.

The Pacers opened their biggest lead - 74-63 - on consecutive jumpers by Diener with 7 minutes left in the third quarter. Chicago fought back, taking a 77-76 advantage following Gooden's dunk minutes later.

Indiana regained an 82-79 lead late in the period, but Gordon's 3-pointer tied it heading into the fourth quarter.

"We're losing basketball games in the fourth quarter,'' Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "Clearly, we're not getting the job done.''

Notes: Pacers F Jermaine O'Neal missed his 17th straight game with a bone bruise in his left knee, and G Jamaal Tinsley missed has missed 12 of the last 15 with a sore left knee ... Gooden and Hughes will make their home debut at the United Center against Washington on Friday. ... Pacers F Shawne Williams (personal reasons) left at halftime and didn't return. ... Indiana has lost eight of its last 11, and three in a row. ... Entering Wednesday, the Pacers had won 15 of their last 17 against the Bulls at Conseco Fieldhouse.


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