ATLANTA – Luol Deng and Taj Gibson were exhausted and determined to stay on the floor. They kept playing in the final minutes, long after the Chicago Bulls had secured another win.
Deng had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and the short-handed Bulls used their stifling defense to shut down the Atlanta Hawks in a 93-76 victory on Saturday night.
Playing without injured starters Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, Chicago dominated near the basket and got a lift from the frenetic play of Nate Robinson. The Bulls used only eight players for the second straight night, but it was more than enough for an impressive road win.
We spoke before the game about how hard we played, Deng said of the loss to the Nets. We were happy with it but we just told each other if we play hard and we don’t win we don’t get rewarded for that. So we definitely wanted to finish the whole game, the whole 48 minutes.
Gibson had 19 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.
Butler added another double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Robinson went 4 for 6 from three-point range and finished with 20 points.
Josh Smith led Atlanta with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Thibodeau said Hinrich had a procedure to have an infection cleaned out of his right elbow. The guard is expected to miss about a week.
Noah was held out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Boozer participated in pregame wamups but was not in uniform due to a right hamstring injury.
KNICKS 120, KINGS 81: In New York, Amare Stoudemire was 10 for 10 from the field for 21 points, and New York unleashed a 38-4 run on Sacramento in the first half and cruised to its fourth straight win.
CAVALIERS 115, THUNDER 110: In Cleveland, Kyrie Irving scored 35 points, including 13 in the final 2:52, to lift Cleveland.
Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook had 28 for the Thunder. Durant left briefly in the third quarter with an apparent back injury.
TIMBERWOLVES 115, HORNETS 86: In Minneapolis, Dante Cunningham scored a season-high 18 points, Nikola Pekovic added 14 as Minnesota stopped its six-game losing streak. Cunningham hit all nine of his shots.
ROCKETS 109, BOBCATS 95: In Houston, James Harden had 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple-double to fuel Houston.
Bobcats rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken off the court on a stretcher in the fourth quarter after teammate Jeff Taylor collided with him going for a rebound. Kidd-Gilchrist was fitted with a neck brace and taken to the hospital.