The Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls are both in the hunt for one the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, but only the Pacers seem to be playing with a sense of urgency.

Indiana looks to win four straight games for the first time in more than two years and shake its recent road woes as it visits the Bulls on Saturday.

The Pacers (28-41) wrapped up a perfect three-game homestand with a 124-113 victory over Minnesota on Friday.

Indiana made a franchise-record 16 3-pointers on 27 attempts, and is averaging 112.0 points during its run - 8.5 better than its season average.

Danny Granger scored 32 points on 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc against the Timberwolves, while Mike Dunleavy finished with 25, going 6-of-7 from 3-point range.

"The 3-point shot is a big part of coach (Jim) O'Brien's offense, and when we're shooting it well, we're a very hard team to beat,'' Granger said.

Granger was playing with a sprained right wrist, an injury that kept him out of Wednesday's game against Charlotte.

"I usually play through nicks and bruises,'' he said. "If this was a playoff game, I would definitely be out there ... and these are like playoff games for us.''

Indiana was three games out of the East's final playoff spot on March 15, but has now moved within 1 1/2 games of eighth-place Atlanta.

The Pacers are looking to win four consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 1-10, 2006, but it won't be easy as they leave Indiana.

The Pacers have lost all five of their road games this month, and are just 2-10 away from Conseco Fieldhouse since a 108-95 loss in Chicago on Jan. 23. Indiana has also lost four straight games at the United Center by an average of 10.8 points, and nine of the last 11 in Chicago (27-41).

Granger is averaging 19.7 points in three games against the Bulls this season, while Dunleavy is averaging 17.3 points in those contests.

Chicago has won two of three over the Pacers this season and six of the last eight overall, but has been sputtering lately.

After beating the then-eighth-place Nets 112-96 on Tuesday, Chicago lost to San Antonio 102-80 on Thursday.

The inconsistent Bulls have dropped five of their last seven games and are two games behind Atlanta.

Against the Spurs, Chicago trailed by as many as 28 points, and shot just 37.8 percent, including 2-of-11 from 3-point range.

"We have to bounce back," interim coach Jim Boylan said. "These games are too important. We cannot let this lack of enthusiasm happen more than every once in a while."

Starting point guard Kirk Hinrich missed Thursday's game with a sprained right ankle, and is day-to-day. He had a career-high 38 points and 10 assists in Chicago's home victory over the Pacers on Jan. 23, but had only six points and three assists in their 113-107 win at Indiana on Feb. 27.

The Bulls are trying to avoid falling 15 games below .500 for the first time since finishing the 2003-04 season 23-59.


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