CHICAGO (AP) — Joakim Noah led the Chicago Bulls past the Atlanta Hawks and gave the fans an added bonus in the process.
Noah scored 19 points as part of his first triple-double of the season in the Bulls' 100-85 win over the Hawks on Tuesday night. His two late free throws provided the Bulls with their final points and secured free Big Macs for the fans.
"Those were tough free throws, man," Noah said.
Not much else seemed difficult for Noah and the Bulls.
Noah added 16 rebounds and 11 assists, and Taj Gibson had 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who had six players score in double figures.
Chicago won its fourth straight against the Hawks and sixth in a row at home versus Atlanta.
Noah had his fourth career triple-double and first since Feb. 28, 2013, against Philadelphia. He completed this one with an assist on Gibson's basket with 9:59 left.
The performance capped a strong stretch for Noah, who has had at least 10 rebounds in four straight games and at least 14 points in three of his last four contests.
"I think the big thing is he's healthy. He's gotten into rhythm," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I think missing training camp set him back offensively. Defensively he's been terrific all year."
The Bulls were without Carlos Boozer for the third straight game because of a left calf strain, and he was replaced in the starting lineup by Gibson. That didn't hurt Chicago much, as the Bulls (26-25) outrebounded the Hawks 57-28, won for the third time in four games, and pulled a half-game in front of Atlanta (25-25) in the Eastern Conference.
"We're playing with a lot of defensive intensity," Gibson said. "We got guys great looks. We were real unselfish."
The Hawks have lost a season-high four straight overall. They fell behind big early, trailing by 25 points during the second quarter.
Atlanta cut its deficit to eight with 8:47 left in the fourth on Mike Scott's 3-pointer, but Chicago answered with the next six points.
"I think the second half is what we expect from our group, what we expect of each other, and the challenges to find a way to play that way for 48 minutes," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
The first half clearly wasn't.
Noah, who was presented his All-Star jersey before the game by Bulls general manager Gar Forman, had six points, six rebounds and six assists during the opening quarter.