Chicago nears top overall seed | NBA
Even as the Chicago Bulls wrapped up another impressive victory, the question that has dogged them remained unanswered: Will Derrick Rose...
INDIANAPOLIS — Even as the Chicago Bulls wrapped up another impressive victory, the question that has dogged them remained unanswered: Will Derrick Rose be ready for the playoffs after fighting through injuries all season?
Rose, last season's league MVP, finished with 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting to help the Bulls defeat the Indiana Pacers 92-87 on Wednesday night.
Rose has missed 26 games this season and he's just beginning to return to form after most recently dealing with injuries to his right ankle and foot. Though he couldn't finish like he normally does on his quick, furious drives to the basket, his unparalleled explosiveness was back.
"Every day is getting better," he said. "I'm not trying to do too much out there, just trying to play with the team, trying not to get reinjured. That's the biggest thing, and making sure I'm playing with a lot of confidence."
Kyle Korver scored 20 points, Carlos Boozer had 16 points and Joakim Noah had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Chicago. The Bulls ended the game needing just a win over Cleveland on Thursday or a loss by the San Antonio Spurs to clinch the top overall seed in the playoffs.
Lance Stephenson had a career-high 22 points in his first career start for the Pacers, who rested Danny Granger and Leandro Barbosa because they were locked into the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference.
Notes and highlights
• Patty Mills scored 27 points and the depleted San Antonio Spurs beat host Phoenix 110-106 in a game overshadowed by the fact it could have been Steve Nash's last in a Suns uniform. The Spurs, already guaranteed the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, sent their top players home to rest for the playoffs.
• Ty Lawson scored 25 points as Denver beat host Oklahoma City 106-101. Kevin Durant scored 32 points to extend his lead in the NBA scoring race, leaving Kobe Bryant in need of 38 points in his season finale to claim his third scoring title and prevent Durant from becoming the seventh player to win three in a row.
• J.R. Smith scored 21 points to help host New York hold off the Los Angeles Clippers 99-93 and close in on the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.
• J.J. Redick had six three-pointers and scored a career-high 31 points as host Orlando sent Charlotte to its 22nd consecutive loss, 102-95.
• Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (pectoral muscle) said he's definitely out for the first-round playoff series against Boston.
• Golden State Warriors forward David Lee will have surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle. Point guard Stephen Curry had arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome right ankle and it "revealed a stable ankle with no structural damage," the team said.