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Saturday, March 23, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bulls 87, Pacers 84

By Nick Friedell

CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls squeaked out an impressive win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Playing without Joakim Noah (foot), Rip Hamilton (lower back) and Derrick Rose (knee), the Bulls still found a way against an Indiana Pacers team playing without Danny Granger (knee) and David West (back). Luol Deng bounced back nicely from a tough offensive stretch, scoring 20 points and pulling down seven rebounds. Carlos Boozer added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Paul George led the Pacers with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

What it means: These are the types of wins the Bulls have piled up under Thibodeau. Just when you think they look completely down and out, just when the injuries appear too much to overcome, Thibodeau and his team find a way to win games they aren't supposed to. The key for the Bulls in this game -- aside from Deng and Boozer's play -- was the impressive performance from Nazr Mohammed. The veteran center came in for Noah and scored 11 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes. He played very well and gave the Bulls a solid presence to lean on in the middle. Only time will tell if the Bulls will be able to string together a few more wins with this group, but they got the type of contributions they needed on this night.

Hits: Daequan Cook knocked down a couple big shots down the stretch and made several nice hustle plays in his 18 minutes. He had nine points and five rebounds before leaving the game with a left thigh bruise.

Misses: Kirk Hinrich was 1-for-5 from the field and scored just two points.

Stat of the night: The Pacers shot just 38.5 percent from the field.

What's next: The Bulls are right back at it Saturday night when they face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves.