Chicago Sun-Times

Luol Deng's 25 leads team effort in Bulls' win over 76ers

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Bulls-76ers (Boozer).jpgIt wasn't a work of art, but the Bulls played as complete of a game as they can play right now in their 93-88 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night at the United Center.

Luol Deng scored eight of his 25 points (10-of-16 shooting) in the fourth quarter.

Carlos Boozer hit a clutch fourth-quarter jumper and added 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Joakim Noah added 12 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and kept alive a missed free throw by Richard Hamilton with 14 seconds left, leading to Hamilton's two clinching free throws.

Hamilton scored 12 points and returned in the final 16 seconds after needing to be helped off the court by teammates when he suffered a sprained left foot in the third quarter.

Kirk Hinrich made the most of a tough night against Jrue Holiday (23 points, seven assists), hitting a jump shot that gave the Bulls an 87-81 lead with 1:14 to play.

Taj Gibson continued his recent strong play, scoring seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter and finishing with eight rebounds.

And Jimmy Butler played a key role in the fourth quarter. He hit his first three-pointer of the season, off a pass from Hinrich, to give the Bulls a 74-66 lead with 8:25 to play. He fed Gibson for a dunk 43 seconds later for a 76-66 lead with 7:42 to play.

He also had a key defensive stop against Jason Richardson with the Bulls leading 83-79 with two minutes left. He batted the ball from Richardson as Richardson went to shoot. And when Richardson regained the ball, he jumped straight up -- it's called fundamental defense -- to force Richardson to miss a three-point shot without fouling him.

The Bulls (8-7) won back-to-back games for the first time since winning the first two games of the season on Oct. 31 and Nov. 2.

''We needed everybody,'' Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ''Luol made some clutch plays. Jimmy Butler had a timely corner three and some very good defense. Joakim was terrific throughout. Kirk had a tough defensive assignment with Jrue Holiday and battled the whole game. Carlos gave us some rebounding. Marco Balinelli gave us some solid minutes.''

The Bulls outrebounded the 76ers 50-37. The had assists on 28 of their 38 field goals. They held the 76ers to 44 percent shooting (36-of-82). After hitting six of their first eight shots, the Sixers hit 30 of their final 74 (41 percent).

''We're moving in the right direction [defensively],'' Thibodeau said. ''We're still not a 48-minute team. There were stretches where we played very well defensively. We have to do it consistently throughout the game.''

The Bulls, tied with Milwaukee (8-7) for first place in the Central division, play the Indiana Pacers (8-9) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the United Center.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on December 1, 2012 11:09 PM.

Rip Hamilton awaits MRI after injuring foot in Bulls' win was the previous entry in this blog.

Rip Hamilton out indefinitely with torn plantar fascia is the next entry in this blog.

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