It wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't pretty, but the Chicago Bulls earned a win in Atlanta on Tuesday night, defeating the Hawks 107-103. It was the Bulls' sixth victory in their last seven games, but it did not come without a solid dose of "pretty good nonsense basketball" at the end of it.
DeMarre Carroll hit a deep three with one minute remaining to give the Hawks a 103-101 lead. The Bulls would answer, but only because they were bailed out of a terrible possession when Kirk Hinrich was fouled shooting a three. Hinrich would hit all three free throws, and the Bulls stole the ball on the ensuing possession. Of course, they threw away the inbounds pass and Atlanta had another golden opportunity. Jeff Teague took that opportunity and ran out of bounds. It was that kind of game, but that kind of game is a lot more fun when the Bulls win. This was the type of victory the Bulls have made a habit out of grabbing the last few years, and I suppose it's good to know they're still able to grind out wins like this without D. Rose and Lu and Jimmy Butler.
With Butler out for the second straight game with a rib injury, Tom Thibodeau made Mike Dunleavy his sacrificial lamb for the night. Dunleavy -- all 33 years of him -- played all but nine seconds (LOL) on the evening, finishing with 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists on 6-of-15 shooting.
Dunleavy was one of seven players to finish in double-figures for Chicago, which is nice because they really only played seven guys (we will discount Nazr's five minutes of burn just because). Birthday boy Joakim Noah was terrific again, finishing 9-of-13 from the field for 20 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Carlos Boozer added 17 and 11 boards, Hinrich and Taj Gibson each had 14 and Tony Snell and D.J. Augustin each posted 10 points.
Augustin was only 2-of-14 from the field a game after going 0-for-10 against the Heat, so that may be a cause for concern. Jeff Teague also torched the Bulls, finishing with 26 points and seven assists. But in a season that has gone the way this one has (the way the last two seasons have gone, really), I'm not going to fret over the small stuff.
The Bulls won again, and that is more than they should be doing at this point, really. No one is complaining for style points here. Thibs' guys roll onward, and it doesn't matter if it was beautiful ball or not.