Mirotic prov­ing his worth

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By ASSOCIATED PRESS in Chicago

Two weeks af­ter fall­ing out of the ro­ta­tion for a cou­ple of games, Nikola Mirotic is play­ing again and mak­ing be­liev­ers out of the Chicago Bulls.

Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and Mirotic added a sea­son-high 20 — in­clud­ing a key bucket down the stretch — as Chicago sur­vived a poor shoot­ing per­for­mance for a 90-85 vic­tory over the In­di­ana Pac­ers on Mon­day night to snap a three-game los­ing streak.

“We need him to win; it’s as sim­ple as that,” Wade said of Mirotic. “We need him to play big and he’s knows that we be­lieve and trust in him.

“Tonight he made big shots and ob­vi­ously made the big­gest one at the end.”

Jimmy But­ler had 16 points as Chicago, which had dropped nine of 12, was 32-for83 (38.6 per­cent) from the field.

Aaron Brooks had a sea­son­high 19 points to lead the Pac­ers, who have lost three straight.

In­di­ana, which dropped to 4-12 on the road, has lost five straight and eight of nine at United Cen­ter.

“Aaron did a good job out there,” Pac­ers coach Nate McMillan said. “Our sec­ond unit got us back in the game.”

Mirotic pumped in 14 points in 12 first-half min­utes to pace the Bulls to a 51-41 half­time lead. He made three 3-point­ers to pro­vide the kind of spark Chicago had been look­ing for from him on a con­sis­tent ba­sis.

How­ever, the Bulls’ of­fen­sive woes re­turned at the start of the sec­ond half. They man­aged just 12 points in the third quar­ter as In­di­ana closed the game to 63-61 head­ing into the fourth.

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