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Indiana at Chicago

Bulls 100, Pacers 88

CBSSports.com wire reports

CHICAGO -- Andres Nocioni tried to shrug it off as just a preseason game, but he couldn't. It was one of the few times he misfired.

Nocioni scored 20 points to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 100-88 preseason victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Tyrus Thomas added 15 points and seven rebounds. But this was Nocioni's night.

He appears to be in form after being hobbled by plantar fasciitis in his right foot, which caused him to miss 28 of 29 games down the stretch and limited him in the playoffs last season.

"This preseason is different than the other ones because right now, I'm coming from the tough injury," he said. "Last year, I didn't play to my level for half of the season. This kind of game is really important for my confidence. My leg's much better. I feel great. I feel like (I'm) 20 years old."

While his foot feels fine, Nocioni's right calf tightened for the second straight game. It didn't slow him too much.

Nocioni was 4-of-5 on 3-pointers and 7-of-9 overall. He scored 13 in the first half and led the way as the Bulls increased their lead from 10 at the break to 75-55 with four minutes left in the third quarter.

The Pacers rallied against the Bulls' reserves in the fourth quarter, pulling within seven, but Chicago prevailed in a game that was not easy on the eye. Indiana committed 30 turnovers, while the Bulls coughed it up 31 times.

"I don't know if this game, with 61 turnovers, helps anyone," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said.

Mike Dunleavy, who left Friday's game against Minnesota after getting poked in the right eye, scored 18 points. Shawne Williams led Indiana with 22, and Danny Granger added 17.

"There are some things I was very happy with - Shawne Williams' performance," coach Jim O'Brien said. "They are a difficult team to beat if you are not going to take care of the basketball."

Both teams were without their best players.

The Pacers' Jermaine O'Neal missed his second game with a hyperextended left knee, while the Bulls were without Luol Deng and Ben Gordon.

O'Neal hopes to play Tuesday at Minnesota.

"Obviously not having him is a disadvantage for us," Dunleavy said. "But it's going to happen throughout the season. A lot of guys are going to be down, and we're going have to learn how to play without a player here, a player there. It's good practice, but yeah, we would like to get him back."

Not that the Bulls were at full strength.

Gordon has missed all five preseason games with a sprained left ankle, while Deng sat out after bruising his right hand the previous night at Toronto. Deng might miss Tuesday's game at Dallas, but he expects to be ready for the preseason finale against Milwaukee on Thursday.

His hand got bent awkwardly as he tried to guard Raptors guard Anthony Parker on Friday, and even though he insisted the injury is minor, the fact that it involved his right hand had to send a shiver up the Bulls' spine.

Deng tore a ligament in his right wrist late in his rookie season and needed surgery, which affected his preparations for the following season. The fourth-year pro still bears a scar, but he said there was no link between that injury and this one.

So the Bulls were able to joke about it on Saturday. As Deng talked to a TV reporter in the locker room following the game, Chris Duhon yelled, "Way to take a day off, Lu!"

Nocioni, meanwhile, made it clear he's not lobbying for Deng's starting spot. He's perfectly happy as the sixth man, playing both forward positions and even some center.

"I try to do everything I can do for my team," Nocioni said. "My role this year is as a sixth man, coming from the bench. I'm OK with that. I don't have any problem with that."

Besides their two stars, the Bulls were also missing forward Joe Smith (right knee) and guard Adrian Griffin (sore lower back).

The Pacers were without forward Troy Murphy (strained left Achilles' tendon), who might miss the season opener, and guard Kareem Rush (sore right Achilles).

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Indiana (4-2) 2518192688
Chicago (3-2) «31222423100
IND: Pts
IND: Reb
IND: Ast
CHI: Pts
CHI: Reb
CHI: Ast

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