Murphy's season-high 27 fill Pacers' holes on offense

INDIANAPOLIS -- Who needs Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy?

Troy Murphy had a season-high 27 points and the Indiana Pacers, still without their two injured scoring leaders, survived a second-half stretch of 11 minutes without a field goal to beat the Chicago Bulls 98-91 on Sunday.

The Pacers now are 5-1 without Granger, a first-time All-Star this season, and 4-1 without both Granger and Dunleavy.

"It is surprising, but I think teams look at that and come into the game seeing we're missing Mike and Danny, they might take us a little lightly," Murphy said. "So I think that has a lot to do with it. They overlook us."

The Pacers led 69-55 midway through the third quarter but did not score another field goal until a 3-pointer by Murphy with 6:43 left in the final period. Chicago took an 80-77 lead before Murphy's 3-pointer tied the game. There were two more ties before a 3-pointer by T.J. Ford put Indiana ahead for good. The Pacers built the lead to as many as seven points, and three free throws by Murphy in the final 17 seconds iced the victory.

"That's where we miss a guy like Danny," Murphy said of the long scoring drought. "He's a guy that can come in and knock down some shots and you can give him the ball and get out of his way. We have to make sure we don't have those kind of lulls. We can't have 11-minute stretches without scoring."

Granger is expected to be out up to another two weeks with a foot injury; Dunleavy is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Ford finished with 19 points for Indiana -- nine in the final 4 minutes -- while Marquis Daniels and Jarrett Jack added 16 each.

"I think all the close games we've played really benefitted us," Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said. "We stepped up defensively at the end, and that was the difference. We were consistently focused defensively in the second half."

Chicago's 14 points in the paint were the fewest by a Pacers opponent this season.

"We started moving the basketball a little better and went to some pick-and-roll stuff and spread them out a little bit," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said of the third-quarter comeback. "But we weren't able to control T.J. Ford, his penetration, and the offensive rebounds they got really hurt us. Murphy had a nice, solid game for them.

"We had good looks but weren't able to knock them down. We weren't able to put any pressure on them offensively," he said.

Ben Gordon had 28 points to lead Chicago, which used three of the five players that came to the Bulls in a series of trades last week.

Gordon, coming off a season-high 37 points in a 116-99 win over Denver on Friday night, had 11 points in each of the first two quarters. But neither team led by more than two points until a round of substitutions brought Brad Miller and John Salmons, two of the newcomers, into the game late in the opening period.

"It was pretty basic in terms of what we were trying to do offensively, so it wasn't too hard to mesh with my teammates," said Miller, a former Pacer acquired with Salmons in the trade with Sacramento. "We were able to get ourselves in a good rhythm, and we'll just see how it goes from here."

Two baskets by Jack started an 8-0 run for the Pacers, and Indiana took its biggest lead of the quarter at 27-22 on a basket by Jeff Foster. Salmons, who averaged 18.3 points in 53 games with Sacramento, then scored his first basket on a 3-pointer and Luol Deng tied the game at 27 at the end of the quarter.

There were eight lead changes in the second quarter, and the Pacers went up 52-46 before Gordon scored the final five points to pull the Bulls within one at the break.

Daniels and Jack hit 3-pointers during a 13-2 run that gave Indiana its biggest lead at 69-55 midway through the third quarter, but the Pacers managed just six points -- all on free throws -- the rest of the period. Three-pointers by Tim Thomas, the third newcomer who played, and Kirk Hinrich and two free throws each by Salmons and Miller helped pull Chicago to 75-74 going into the final quarter.

Indiana continued missing from the field, and the 3-pointer by Murphy ended a streak of 13 straight misses.

Game notes
C Jerome James, one of Chicago's five new players, was inactive and the other, Anthony Roberson, did not play. ... The win was Indiana's second in a row, ending a six-game streak of alternating wins and losses. ... Foster, who missed the past five games with an ankle injury, had four points and five rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench. ... Murphy's 14 rebounds gave him his 33rd double-double of the season. ... Joakim Noah led Chicago with 12 rebounds, 10 of them in the first half. ... Salmons had 12 points, Miller six points and 10 rebounds and Thomas five points for Chicago; the only other player off the Bulls bench was Hinrich, who had three points.