Rose reaches double figures for 10th straight game as Bulls pull away late

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose showed another dimension to his already impressive game and led the Chicago Bulls to a victory just before they start a tough seven-game road trip.

Besides his quick first step and fearless forays to the basket, Rose displayed his 3-point shot Saturday night while scoring 23 points and helping the Bulls beat the Indiana Pacers 104-91.

"They are giving it to me. I'd be a fool not to shoot it. My teammates want me to shoot and if I don't, they yell at me or tell the coach probably to get me out of the game," Rose said. "Right now I'm just taking what they give me. ... If they come up on me, I'm going to drive. "

Rose scored 12 points in the third quarter, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Bulls to an eight-point lead, then used his quickness to help Chicago complete the victory in the fourth. He finished 3-of-5 on 3-pointers after going 2-for-9 in the first nine games.

Even Rose is surprised by how much scoring he's doing -- he's already had four 20-point-plus games.

And he's hit in double figures in each of his first 10 games -- the first Chicago rookie to accomplish that since Michael Jordan in the 1984-85 season.

"I didn't even know that to tell you the truth," Rose said. "I'm not even near him right now. Hopefully I will be, but I'm too far way. For me to do that is nice. I'm worried about winning right now."

T.J. Ford led the Pacers with 16 points. Ford had a pair of baskets, one after a steal, as Indiana closed within two in the fourth before the Bulls took off.

Andres Nocioni drove for a basket and hit a 3-pointer, Larry Hughes had a layup on a long pass from Rose, then Rose took a long pass from Ben Gordon for a slam as the Bulls built the lead to 12 with just under five minutes to go.

"They just took the game away from us in the fourth," Ford said. "Once he [Rose] hit one or two 3s, his confidence exploded out there. He put some big plays together."

Nocioni scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds, Gordon chipped in 19 points and Rose added eight assists.

Danny Granger had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Troy Murphy 12 points and 13 boards for the Pacers.

Trailing by eight at the half, the Pacers reeled off the first 10 points of the third quarter, but Rose rallied the Bulls. He had 10 points in a 17-6 run, including the back-to-back 3-pointers.

"That's a rookie that's going to blossom sooner than people think he is," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "He's going to be a great player, maybe as soon as the end of this year. When he's knocking down 3s, he's a very, very difficult guy to guard."

Ford went to the bench for a short stretch after he was apparently hit in the head unintentionally by Rose while driving to the basket, causing the ball to go up in the air and out of bounds. With no foul called, Ford laid on the floor for a couple of seconds, then got up and said something in the direction of official Ron Washington and was given a technical foul.

After Ford returned to the game, Rose fed Nocioni for a 3-pointer, then raced to the top of the key for a jumper just before the third-quarter buzzer to give the Bulls an 81-73 lead.

The Pacers, who blew a 26-point lead on Friday night to lose at home against the 76ers, started slow, falling behind by 13 in the first quarter. Second-quarter 3-pointers by Granger and Jarrett Jack were part of a rally that saw Indiana take the lead at 41-40.

The Bulls responded when Luol Deng made five free throws and Joakim Noah took a lob pass from Rose for a basket to start a three-point play. The late surge put the Bulls up 55-47 at the half.

Game notes
Rasho Nesterovic had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana. ... The Bulls were 25-of-27 at the line to 17-of-21 for Indiana. ... The Bulls' road swing that begins Tuesday -- called the annual circus trip because a circus comes to the United Center while they are out of town -- includes games against the Lakers, Trail Blazers, Warriors, Jazz, Nuggets and Spurs.