Noah, Bulls hold off Nets
CHICAGO – Joakim Noah had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and helped force a key turnover Saturday night as the Bulls held off the Brooklyn Nets, 83-82.
Deron Williams missed a jumper with five seconds left for the Nets that would’ve tied it. The Bulls won for the fifth time in six games.
Noah and Luol Deng trapped Joe Johnson late in the game, resulting in one of Brooklyn’s 18 turnovers. Deng turned the mistake into a basket that tied it at 79.
Brook Lopez had 18 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes for Brooklyn, which played for the fourth time in five days. The Nets won at home Friday night, beating Detroit, 107-105, in double overtime.
Marco Belinelli led the Bulls with 19 points and made two free throws to cap an 8-0 run in the closing minutes. He also hit the Bulls’ only 3-pointers of the game – the Bulls shot 2 of 10 on 3s overall.
Deng scored 17 points and Carlos Boozer added 15 for the Bulls.
Williams, who played 43 minutes the night before, was on the court for 35 minutes against the Bulls and created plenty of problems for the short-handed Bulls.
Missing starter Kirk Hinrich, the Bulls used Nate Robinson and Marquis Teague on Williams, who took full advantage. Robinson and Teague went back and forth to the bench for spells because of foul trouble. Williams scored a game-high 24 points, 10 of them from foul line.
Johnson scored 16 points in 38 minutes. On Friday night, he played 52 minutes and hit a buzzer-beater for the win.
Lopez played 25 minutes in his second game back since an injured right foot cost him seven games. He seemed to be the least-sluggish of the Nets on the floor at the start, hitting his first five shots and scoring Brooklyn’s first six points.
Williams hit two free throws to cap a 13-point first quarter and give the Nets a one-point advantage.
Robinson ignited the crowd with a hustle play in the first quarter, running back after making a layup to block MarShon Brooks’ bid to catch the Bulls off-guard.
Robinson scored eight points and committed only one turnover starting in place of Hinrich.