david west

Indiana suddenly has a shooting touch to go with its tough defense.

The combination is just too much.

David West scored 29 points Monday night and All-Star Paul George finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, leading the Pacers past Chicago 111-101 for a 14th consecutive home win and into a tie with the Bulls for the Central Division lead.

”We’re just playing together, every game I feel like we’re playing sharper,” West said. ”We still need to pick it up defensively, we’re slipping in that regard, but in terms of the offense and how we’re moving the ball and what we’re looking for, it’s just game-by-game improvement.”

It shows.

Three nights after shooting a season-high 55.7 percent in a relatively easy win over defending NBA champion Miami, Indiana shot 52.7 percent against a Bulls defense that is ranked No. 2 in the NBA in defensive field goal percentage. The only team ahead of the Bulls is the Pacers, and Indiana never trailed in the second half Monday…

Starting guards Derrick Rose (left knee) and Kirk Hinrich (right elbow) and starting center Joakim Noah (right foot) all sat out again with injuries, and they had another scare late in the first quarter when Marco Belinelli crashed to the floor clutching his right ankle. He returned later and finished with a season-high 24 points. Nate Robinson finished with 19 points, nine assists and five rebounds, and Carlos Boozer had 10 points and five rebounds as he returned from a right hamstring injury…

It was Indiana’s first regular-season home win over Chicago since March 18, 2011. … The Bulls are 6-20 all-time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. … Bulls guard Marquis Teague finished with two points in his first pro appearance in his hometown. … The Bulls lost for only the third time in nine games.

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press