Dunleavy leads Bulls past Hawks 91-84

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 4, 2014 at 11:15 pm •  Published: January 4, 2014
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CHICAGO (AP) — If there has been a bright spot to the Chicago Bulls' injury-filled season, it has been their defense.

It came through again Saturday night, helping the Bulls overcome a 40.7 percent shooting night to hold the Atlanta Hawks to nearly 20 points below their season average in a 91-84 victory.

Opponents are shooting 43 percent against the Bulls.

"We have a defensive system and we work on it a lot," Joakim Noah said. "It's crazy how much we work on it. We work on defense every day."

The Hawks, who were averaging 103.2 points, shot 37.2 percent and were 8 of 28 from 3-point range.

"We have a core of guys that understand it and are really good at it," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said about the defense.

"We know if we defend and rebound and keep our turnovers down, we're going to be in a position to win. Right now, when you're short-handed, that's really what you have to do. It's also what you have to do in every game, even when you're completely healthy."

Mike Dunleavy scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and Luol Deng added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, hitting two free throws with 8.8 seconds left to seal the win. Chicago led most of the way in winning for the fifth time in seven games.

Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague scored 16 points apiece for the Hawks.

A 3-point attempt by Kyle Korver that would have cut the Bulls' lead to 84-82 with 4:18 left was overturned and ruled a shot clock violation upon review. Soon after, DeMarre Carroll was called for an offensive foul when the Hawks trailed 86-79.

"That was a big swing, a big change in the game," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said.

Korver extended his NBA record of games with at least one 3-pointer made to 103 straight when he hit the first of his two 3-pointers with 9:59 left in the first quarter.

Korver finished with eight points on 3-of-9 shooting.

"I just have so much respect for those guys over there, how they continue to play hard every day and just grind and win games like tonight," Korver said. "They just find ways. It's not the prettiest basketball at times, but you have a lot of respect for them."

The Hawks tied the game 67-all with 11:12 left on Mike Scott's free throw. It was the first time the Bulls hadn't led since there was 6:19 left in the first quarter. But Dunleavy answered with a 3-pointer, Noah scored on a putback and Jimmy Butler made a layup to put the Bulls ahead 74-69 with 8:41 remaining.