Bulls Back Above .500 After Holding Off Bobcats
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) –– D.J. Augustin scored 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and the Chicago Bulls held off the Charlotte Bobcats 89-87 Saturday night to get back above .500.
The former Bobcats point guard hit 4 of 5 shots from the field in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers, to help break open a tight game.
The Bulls (22-21) have won 10 of their last 13 games.
Joakim Noah had 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Bulls, who have won 10 of their last 11 against the Bobcats.
Taj Gibson added 13 points and seven rebounds, while Mike Dunleavy had 12 points and eight rebounds for Chicago.
Al Jefferson continued his hot play for the Bobcats (19-27) with 32 points and 13 rebounds. It was his ninth straight 20-point game.
The Bobcats cut a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to three when Jannero Pargo knocked down a 26-foot fadeaway 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left, but Augustin made two free throws to seal the win.
Chicago came in having defeated the Bobcats by an average of 27.5 points in the last four meetings in Charlotte, but this one was close throughout with 14 lead changes and no team leading by more than six points through three quarters.
The Bulls took a 55-54 lead into the final period and quickly extended that lead to 11 sparked by eight quick points from Augustin and six from Tony Snell.
Before the game, Bobcats coach Steve Clifford stressed the importance of winning the battle on the boards with the Bulls after being outrebounded by 10 and 12 in the first two meetings.
His players apparently listened as Charlotte held a 16-8 edge on the boards in the first quarter. Charlotte outrebounded Chicago 45-41 for the game.
Chicago gave up 112 points in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, but the league’s second-best defense returned to form against the Bobcats. They held the Bobcats to 42 percent shooting after allowing the Clippers to beat them with 59.3 percent shooting.
NOTES: Bobcats leading scorer Kemba Walker missed his fourth straight game with an ankle injury. … Carlos Boozer has scored in double digits in nine straight games for the Bulls. … Ramon Sessions had 11 assists for the Bobcats.
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