CHICAGO (AP) — D.J. Augustin had 20 points and 12 assists and Joakim Noah added 19 points and 14 rebounds, helping the streaking Chicago Bulls beat the Charlotte Bobcats 103-97 on Saturday night.
Chicago had seven players score in double figures in its fifth consecutive victory. The Bulls (17-18) also improved to 3-0 since they traded All-Star Luol Deng to Cleveland late Monday night.
Mike Dunleavy scored 17 points for Chicago, which recovered after blowing a 15-point lead in the second half. Carlos Boozer had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bobcats (15-23) have dropped three straight. Gerald Henderson had 30 points, and Kemba Walker scored 29.
Charlotte scored 22 of the last 29 points of the third to tie it at 70 heading to the final period. Walker had 13 points in the run, including a layup with 0.7 seconds to go.
Josh McRoberts’ dunk gave the Bobcats a 73-72 lead in the fourth, but the Bulls then scored 11 straight points. Noah got the run started with a dunk and scored seven points in the surge.
The key fourth-quarter run put Chicago ahead to stay. Walker’s layup got Charlotte within four with 11.8 seconds to go, but Kirk Hinrich hit two foul shots to help the Bulls hold on.
Chicago played without guard Jimmy Butler, who injured his left quad during Friday night’s victory in Milwaukee. Butler has missed 13 games this season due to injury.
Hinrich and Taj Gibson had 12 points apiece for the Bulls, who made 21 of 26 foul shots. Cartier Martin, who signed a 10-day contract with the Bulls on Friday, scored 11 in his first game with the team.
Al Jefferson had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats, who went 19 for 20 at the line. Charlotte was outrebounded 46-34.
The Bulls built a 52-42 halftime lead behind 13 points from Dunleavy, who has assumed the starting small forward spot previously held by Deng.
Despite missing their two best players at the start of the season — Deng and Derrick Rose, who is out for the season following knee surgery — and another starter in Butler, the Bulls are in the midst of their best stretch of the season.
“For us, we’ve had change,” coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game. “We’ve dealt with change all year. I think our team has responded well and we have to continue to do that. There’s still a lot that we can improve on. We’ve got to keep building and improving.”
NOTES: Jefferson had a total of 14 points in his two previous games before Saturday. “He’s in a dependent position,” coach Steve Clifford said of Jefferson. “It’s depending on the schemes of the way (opponents) play him.”
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