JIMMY BUTLER is finding ways to show what kind of threat he can be for the Chicago Bulls. And he's finding ways to cause problems for the Indiana Pacers.
Butler had 27 points and nine rebounds to lead visiting Chicago to a 92-90 victory over Indiana last night.
Butler's three-pointer with 1:07 remaining put the Bulls ahead for good.
"Derrick [Rose] is always on me to shoot and to shoot threes and be aggressive," he said. "I'm confident in my game, so I feel like I have to step up and take and make shots late."
Pau Gasol had 20 points and Rose added 17 for the Bulls, who extended the team's season-best winning streak to seven straight.
Chris Copeland scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, and George Hill and C.J. Miles each added 11 points for the Pacers, who trailed by 21 points in the second half.
The Bulls seemed to have put the game away when Mike Dunleavy converted a three-point play to put the Bulls ahead 75-54 with 2:33 left in the third quarter. But the Pacers went on a 23-2 run and regained the lead on Lavoy Allen's basket to make it 84-83 with 6:15 left in the fourth.
"It's a different thing, executing in the final 4 minutes of a game than the first 44 minutes of the game," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "We had some poor possession on the offensive end. We were getting some stops, we just fell short."
Butler, who scored 32 points in a 99-90 loss to Indiana back on Nov. 15, gave Chicago all the momentum it needed.
"The lesson we learned is you have to keep playing," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "No lead is safe in this league."
* At Houston, Bradley Beal scored 33 points and John Wall had 13 points and 12 assists as the Washington Wizards nicked the Rockets, 104-103.
James Harden scored nine of his 33 points in the final 19 seconds for Houston but it wasn't enough.
* At Charlotte, Brandon Knight scored 18 points, including a layup to force overtime, and the Bucks pulled away to beat the Charlotte Hornets, 104-94.
Jared Dudley scored 17 points, Giannis Antetokounm had 16, Zaza Pachulia had 15, O.J. Mayo had 13 and John Henson added 11 for the Bucks.
* At Miami, Nikola Vucevic scored 26 points, Victor Oladipo scored seven of his 22 in the final minutes and the Orlando Magic beat the Heat, 102-101. Oladipo had a layup to tie it, then a free throw to put the Magic ahead to stay and give them their first win against Miami in 11 tries.