Rose leads Bulls past Hawks 101-98 in overtime
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) That ankle injury in the preseason set a bad tone, and Derrick Rose’s recent rib problem drew a few more groans around Chicago.
This, however, should ease concerns.
Rose scored a career-high 32 points and the Bulls overcame a season-high 40 points from Joe Johnson to beat Atlanta 101-98 in overtime Saturday night and snap the Hawks’ six-game win streak.
“I guess I did what I’m supposed to do out there tonight and we were able to win,” Rose said.
He didn’t want to talk about his numbers, no matter how impressive they were.
The Bulls, who trailed by as much as 14 in the first half, momentarily took the lead in the fourth. They then fell behind by nine before making another run.
Rose scored the tying basket in regulation, then hit two free throws with 10.8 seconds left in overtime to seal it, sending the Bulls to their second straight win.
The Hawks had a chance to tie it, but Johnson missed a 3-point attempt. Rose got the rebound and missed two free throws with 2.3 seconds left, but Chicago’s Joakim Noah blocked an outlet pass to secure the win after Al Horford grabbed the rebound.
The missed free throws aside, Rose was at his best despite needing a cortisone shot for pain in his right rib cage. He’s showing the explosive play that lifted him to the Rookie of the Year award last season after being limited by an inflamed tendon in his right ankle.
“My ankle’s better,” said Rose, who buried 14 of 24 shots. “That’s really it.”
Luol Deng chipped in with 21 points and 12 rebounds. John Salmons scored 16 and Chicago rallied again after falling behind by 17 in a win over New York on Thursday.
That was enough to offset a big effort by Johnson, who finished two points shy of his career high.
“It’s a tough one because I felt I should have made one to give us a lead toward the end,” he said.
Horford had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Jamal Crawford scored 14 points, but the Hawks simply couldn’t put away Chicago.
Salmons’ corner 3-pointer gave Chicago a 97-94 lead. Atlanta’s Josh Smith then scored down low before a driving Deng shoveled the ball to Rose for a layup that made it 99-96 with 59 seconds remaining.
Johnson then hit two free throws to pull Atlanta within one, and Deng charged into Smith with 19.8 seconds left, but Johnson missed on a layup after driving by Salmons. Noah tipped the ball away as it bounced off the rim, Luol Deng got the rebound and Rose made it a three point game with two free throws.
“I just think we got stagnant tonight,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “We started looking to Joe too much. He bailed us out the whole game. We just didn’t have it then down the stretch.”
It was a sharp turnaround for the Bulls, who looked like they were going to be blown out by Atlanta for the second time in 10 days. Even after they fell behind in the fourth, the Hawks looked like they were in good shape.
But the Bulls eventually tied it at 92 on Rose’s fastbreak layup with 35 seconds left after Johnson missed a jumper.
Johnson, who scored 12 in the fourth quarter, had another chance to give the Hawks the lead but missed a short fadeaway with 22 seconds left.
Deng grabbed the rebound, and after a full timeout and 20-second timeout, eventually missed an 18-footer off the dribble as time expired. He was harassed into calling the 20 when he couldn’t find an open teammate with the ball up top, and wound up with a chance to win it when Rose couldn’t spring free.
“We tried to get the ball to Derrick,” Deng said. “They did a good job denying.”
NOTES: A three-time All-Star with an expiring contract, Johnson wasn’t offering any clues about where he might wind up next season. “Anything’s possible,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. As of right now, I’m going to have fun.” The Hawks are off to one of their best starts, so staying put is an option. Chicago also could be a major player in free agency. … Bulls F Tyrus Thomas will likely participate Sunday in some contact drills for the first time since he broke his left forearm in early November and could return after Christmas. Coach Vinny Del Negro does not expect him to play Monday against Sacramento or Tuesday in New York. The Bulls’ next game after that is Dec. 26 against New Orleans.
Updated December 20, 2009