The way the shots were banging off the rim and backboard early on, this was looking like another rough night for the Chicago Bulls. Instead, they hung in and came away with the win.
Luol Deng and the slumping Kirk Hinrich each scored 19 points, and the balanced Bulls beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 94-88, on Saturday night.
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Deng scored six during a 14-4 run to start the fourth quarter that turned a four-point lead into a 77-63 advantage, and the Bulls hung on after dropping two straight.
“We needed it,” Deng said. “This is a big win before our West Coast trip.”
The Bulls’ next six games are on the road and they don’t play another home game this month. As sendoffs go, this wasn’t bad.
Derrick Rose, John Salmons, Brad Miller and Joakim Noah each added 14 points, and Chicago held on after Philadelphia pulled within five late in the game. Noah also grabbed 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double, while Deng chipped in with nine.
Andre Iguodala led Philadelphia with 24 points and Lou Williams scored 20, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Sixers’ fifth loss in seven games.
“I thought we were aggressive,” Iguodala said. “We got to the foul line, we missed some foul shots, I missed a few. Guys were aggressive. I think we found Sam in some spots and he normally makes those shots. If we make those shots that we consistently hit, we get the win. I think we got some things accomplished, we just didn’t knock down some shots.”
With a 63-59 lead going into the fourth quarter, the Bulls quickly took control.
Rose’s driving layup started the decisive run. Hinrich, coming off three straight 3-for-10 performances, followed with a floater and then buried a runner after a basket by Philadelphia’s Marreese Speights. Miller added a layup, then Deng got going.
He hit two free throws and, after a dunk by Samuel Dalembert, added back-to-back jumpers to make it 77-63 with 7:39 left in the game.
The Sixers got within 90-85 when Rodney Carney buried a 3-pointer with 57 seconds left, but the Bulls made just enough shots to come away with the win despite committing 21 turnovers. They didn’t exactly light it up from the floor at 45 percent, but considering they ranked 28th entering the game and got off to a poor start, they’ll take this.
“We had way too many turnovers, and when you turn the ball over against Philly, they are going to make you pay in the open court,” coach Vinny Del Negro said. “They had a lot of fastbreak points (19 to the Bulls’ eight) and we helped them in that department by not protecting the ball.”
The Sixers didn’t do a great job, either. They committed 18 turnovers and shot 42 percent while coming up short in the end.
“We had a lot of energy tonight, we had great effort – night and day from (Friday) night,” coach Eddie Jordan said, referring to a 112-90 loss to Utah. If we’d of had some shots go down, I think it’s a different ball game.”
The Bulls, meanwhile, hit just enough after a brutal finish Wednesday in which they got outscored 14-1 over the final 6 1/2 minutes of a 99-89 loss at Toronto and an ugly start to this game. They missed nine of their first 12 shots and watched as Philadelphia hit its first seven while building a 20-6 lead.
Chicago then woke up, answering with a 16-0 run that saw a driving Noah deliver a right-handed slam on Iguodala and Deng fake him on a transition dunk. Iguodala, however, buried a 33-footer at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 23-22 lead after Hinrich capped the spurt with a fadeaway jumper, and they were ahead 41-40 at the half.
NOTES: The Bulls open a six-game road trip Tuesday at Sacramento. They also visit the Lakers, Denver, Portland, Utah and Milwaukee before hosting Detroit on Dec. 2. … Speights sprained his left knee and will be evaluated on Sunday. … Tied for 24th in rebounding entering the game, the Sixers weren’t having much success on the offensive or defensive glass. “We’re taking a back seat in the rebounding department at both ends and we’ve got to get better at it,” coach Eddie Jordan said. “I don’t know how. Let’s see as the game goes along if we can be relentless enough, if not physical enough to rebound the ball.”