Balanced Bulls beat Bobcats 103-97

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 11, 2014 at 11:37 pm •  Published: January 11, 2014

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.

"The difference was we played defense throughout that period," Charlotte's Josh McRoberts said. "We hit our shots. They're a tough defensive team and this game was a real test for us."

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.

"Noah is a handful out there," Clifford said. "He does a lot of things that people don't see."

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.

"We're just going to go out there and give everything we've got," Noah said. "There's no tanking . none of that. When people in Chicago say 'Chicago Bulls,' I want them to be proud of that."

NOTES: Jefferson had a total of 14 points in his two previous games before Saturday.