Deng’s Layup With 3.7 Left Leads Bulls Past Hawks
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CHICAGO (AP) – Luol Deng’s layup with 3.7 seconds to play lifted the Chicago Bulls to a 76-74 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.
Derrick Rose scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to rally the Bulls from a 19-point deficit. Coming out of a timeout with the score tied in the final seconds, Deng cut along the baseline and took a feed from Joakim Noah to put Chicago ahead.
Atlanta’s Joe Johnson shot an airball at the buzzer, giving the Bulls the win.
Deng finished with 19 points for the Bulls.
Rose missed a runner with 21 seconds left, but Atlanta’s Jeff Teague missed two free throws. Rose then drove past Teague and scored over the Hawks’ Josh Smith with 9.9 seconds left to put the Bulls up 74-73.
Al Horford, who led the Hawks with 16 points, was fouled and split two free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining.
Marvin Williams added 14 points and Josh Smith had 13 for Atlanta, which shot just 35 percent from the floor but held Chicago to 34 percent.
The Bulls have won four straight and their 5-1 start is their best since opening 12-0 in 1996-97.
Horford scored eight points as Atlanta extended its lead to 19 late in the third before the Bulls scored the last five points in the quarter. The Hawks led 56-42 entering the final period.
Rose, last season’s MVP, scored 11 points early in the fourth, including three 3-pointers. His pullup 3 cut Atlanta’s lead to two with 8:15 to play and capped the Bulls’ 20-3 run.
Two minutes later, Rose passed to Deng for a 3 in the corner, evening the score at 62 for the game’s first tie.
Johnson answered with a 3 of his own to spark a six-point Atlanta run. Chicago closed the gap to one on a series of free throws by Deng, setting up the stretch run.
The Bulls led the NBA in defensive efficiency last season and are in the top 10 again so far this year, but Atlanta began the day leading the league in fewest points allowed. During several stretches of the game, it looked like neither team could score.
The Bulls had won three straight coming in and were coming off a 40-point rout of Memphis on Sunday but didn’t lead until Rose’s spectacular crossover move and layup to put Chicago up 72-71 with 57.9 seconds to play.
The Hawks played in a back-to-back game for the third time in the first 10 days of the season and for the fourth time in five nights, all games in different cities.
Despite the brutal schedule, the Hawks started fast and led by nine points in the first quarter. Both teams struggled in the second quarter.
Chicago shot 2 for 21 in the period and went more than eight minutes without a field goal during one stretch, missing 14 straight shots.
Atlanta led 38-26 at the break as Chicago scored just three points more than its franchise record for fewest points in a half, set on April 10, 1999, against Miami.
NOTES: Ronnie Brewer started in place of Richard Hamilton, who sat out his second straight game with a strained left groin. Hamilton was a game-time scratch from the starting lineup. . Chicago’s C.J. Watson missed the game with a strained left elbow suffered on Sunday. Watson is listed as day-to-day by the team but was seen before the game with his arm in a sling. . Atlanta handed Miami its first loss on Monday and was trying to knock off one of last season’s Eastern Conference finalists for the second straight night. . The Bulls, who beat the Hawks in six games in the playoffs last year, entered the game having lost seven of the last 10 regular-season meetings with Atlanta. . After a day off on Wednesday, the Hawks open a stretch of three games in three nights at home, starting with a matchup against Miami on Thursday. The last game of the stretch is against the Bulls.
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