Bulls 108, Hornets 106, OT
NEW ORLEANS (AP)
For a year and a half, the Chicago Bulls rarely won on the road. Suddenly, they can't lose away from home.
Derrick Rose added 18 points for the Bulls, including two free throws that put Chicago ahead for good in overtime. The Bulls finished a season-long, seven-game road trip with their fifth consecutive victory.
After going 13-28 on the road last season, Chicago had won only four of its first 19 away from the United Center this year before its hot streak. At 23-22, the Bulls are above .500 for the first time since they were 6-5.
``When you're winning, everything is positive,'' Deng said. ``We're going into games expecting to win. A game like that, if we had lost four in a row, we might have lost it. But the mentality right now is we can win every game.''
David West led New Orleans with 29 points. Chris Paul added 18 points and 12 assists, but he hurt his left leg trying to save a loose ball near the end of regulation and was ineffective in overtime. He pulled up in the backcourt and had to give the ball to rookie point guard Darren Collison on the final play after teammate Peja Stojakovic poked it away from Rose.
``I was looking to get an easy basket,'' Collison said. ``They did a good job of clogging the lane up, and I tried to pull up for a shot and the ball came out of my hands. There's definitely no excuse for that play.''
The Hornets said Paul was questionable for Saturday's game at Memphis.
New Orleans appeared ready to win in regulation when West grabbed a rebound and was fouled with 8.8 seconds left. The Hornets were not in the penalty yet, though, and West's long inbounds pass to Paul sailed over his head. Paul chased it down just before the ball went out of bounds - hurting his leg in the process - but his desperation save went to Chicago's Kirk Hinrich.
The Bulls raced down the court, and Deng tipped in a rebound after West got a piece of Rose's shot.
``We showed some toughness and just found a way to get us to overtime,'' Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. ``We weren't as sharp tonight as we have been, but at the end we attacked.''
West scored first in overtime, but Hinrich tied it on a jumper, Rose hit two free throws and Brad Miller sank a shot from the top of the key to give the Bulls a 108-104 lead. Another West basket cut the margin to 108-106 with 48.1 seconds left, but the Hornets never got off another shot.
``We're not surprised at our turnaround,'' Rose said. ``We're playing good basketball, hanging in there throughout the whole game. We're sticking with tough teams.''
West put the Hornets ahead twice in the final minute of regulation. First, he hit a 25-foot 3-pointer off a broken play to beat the shot clock, making the score 100-98. After Miller tied it with two free throws, West scored on a layup off a pass from Paul with 30.8 seconds left.
The Bulls, who had beaten the Hornets by double figures three consecutive times over the last two years, appeared headed for another comfortable win through three quarters.
Trailing 88-73 late in the third quarter, the Hornets went on a 21-4 run. Reserve Julian Wright started the spurt with a dunk and a putback at the end of the third quarter - his only points of the game. New Orleans held the Bulls to two baskets in the first 9:30 of the fourth quarter.
West converted a three-point play with 2:48 left to give the Hornets a 97-92 lead.
Chicago responded with six straight points, setting up the frantic final minute of regulation.
``The Bulls played outstanding basketball tonight, and we just came up a little short,'' Hornets coach Jeff Bower said. ``The thing I will focus most on is the effort in the fourth quarter to come back and get into the game.''
NOTES: Hornets reserve forward James Posey, who hit two game-winning shots last week, is out indefinitely with a sprained right Achilles tendon he hurt Wednesday against Portland. He is averaging 5.6 points. The Hornets have played three overtime games in their last nine and have lost all three. New Orleans fell to 6-2 in games decided by three or fewer points.