2005.06 Chicago Bulls: 82 Games
Chicago scored a season high in points and enter the playoffs as the No. 7 seed thanks to Wednesday's 127-106 home rout of the Raptors. Six Bulls scored in double figures in the regular-season finale led by Ben Gordon with 24 and Luol Deng with 21. Chicago (41-41) is slated to play the Heat when the playoffs start up on Saturday in Miami.
The Bulls (40-41) won their fifth straight game, sliding past the Magic, 116-112 in overtime, on April 17. Kirk Hinrich had 26 points and 10 assists, Andres Nocioni scored 24 and Luol Deng notched a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Gordon, who had 18 points, made six straight foul shots in the final 30 seconds, as part of the Bulls' 35-of-45 effort from the line.
Chicago trailed by double figures in the first period but used a big second-quarter run to overcome Miami in a 117-93 win on April 16. The victory gave the Bulls (39-41) their second straight postseason berth. Luol Deng scored 26 points on his 21st birthday, while Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni added 18 apiece. The Bulls rallied from an early 15-point deficit.
Ben Gordon capped a remarkable performance with his ninth 3-pointer on nine attempts with 54.1 seconds left, lifting the Bulls to a huge 103-101 win over visiting Washington on April 14. With its seventh victory in eight games, Chicago (38-41) moved into sole possession of eighth place in the East, one game ahead of Philadelphia and just one behind Indiana, Milwaukee and the Wizards. Gordon scored 15 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, shooting 4-of-4 from long range in the period. His nine treys without a miss tied an NBA record.
Ben Gordon led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Bulls maintained a share of eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 96-90 win at Atlanta on April 12. Kirk Hinrich had 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds for Chicago (37-41), which outscored the Hawks by 10 in the third quarter. Michael Sweetney scored 15 and Andres Nocioni registered his eighth straight double-double with 14 points and 11 boards.
Ben Gordon scored 21 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter as Chicago came away with a 104-101 home win over New Jersey to move into an eighth-place tie with the 76ers on April 11. Kirk Hinrich added 22 points and Andres Nocioni had 20 with a career-high 17 rebounds. With the win Chicago (36-41) pulled even with idle Philadelphia for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls were outscored by 13 in the third quarter and couldn't recover in an 89-75 loss to visiting Philadelphia on April 8. The defeat ended Chicago's four-game win streak and dropped it into a tie with the Sixers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Andres Nocioni registered his sixth straight double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls (35-41). Chris Duhon scored 14 and Jannero Pargo had 10.
The Bulls continued their last-season surge on April 5, winning 99-92 at Philadelphia to move into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Ben Gordon scored 21 points and Andres Nocioni added 21 and a season-high 13 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng scored 14 points each and Tyson Chandler collected 15 rebounds for Chicago. By winning their fourth straight contest, the Bulls (35-40) moved one-half game ahead of the Sixers (34-40) for the East's final playoff spot.
In a must-win for Chicago, Ben Gordon erased Chicago's 10-point fourth-quarter deficit by scoring 16 of his 23 points in the quarter en route to a 102-96 home victory over Indiana on April 4. Gordon celebrated his 23rd birthday by personally outscoring the Pacers in the fourth period, including a 3-point dagger with 16.4 seconds left to ice the game. Andres Nocioni put the Bulls (34-40) up three with 32.1 ticks on the clock on his way to 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bulls didn't hold a lead until Kirk Hinrich put them on top for good with 4:26 to play in a 100-94 win over the visiting Boston Celtics on April 1. Chicago (33-40) now trails Philadelphia by just a game in the race for the eighth playoff spot in the East. Hinrich led the way with 25 points and Michael Sweetney, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng scored 14 apiece. Andres Nocioni chipped in with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Luol Deng scored 15 of his 21 points in a dominant first half and the Bulls held on for a 113-107 win at Charlotte on March 31. Andres Nocioni had 24 points and 11 rebounds for Chicago, which held a 67-43 lead at the break. Chris Duhon scored 17 of his 19 after halftime. The victory kept the Bulls (32-40) within one and a half games of the Sixers for the final playoff spot in the East.
The Bulls led by 11 early in the fourth quarter, but could not hold on in a 97-93 loss to the visiting Orlando Magic on March 28. Andres Nocioni scored a career-high 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Hinrich had 14 points, 12 assists and a career-high seven steals and Luol Deng also scored 14 points for the Bulls, who had won their last five meetings with the Magic. Chicago (31-40) had a two-game winning streak snapped.
Ben Gordon scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Bulls stormed back from a 10-point deficit in a 101-97 road win over the Celtics on March 26. Five other Chicago players scored in double-figures with Luol Deng netting 20, Chris Duhon going for 17 and Tyson Chandler notching a double-double with 10 and 11 rebounds. With the win, the Bulls (31-39) moved to within one and a half games of Philly for the eighth spot in the East.
The Bulls moved within two and a half games of the No. 8 spot in the East thanks to a strong fourth quarter in a 96-82 home win over the Hornets on March 24. Ben Gordon scored nine of his game-high 25 points in the final frame as Chicago (30-39) outscored New Orleans/Okla. City by 10 to take control of the game. Luol Deng pumped in 17 and seven rebounds and Tyson Chandler swiped an eye-popping 21 rebounds.
The Bulls jumped out to a 15-point first-quarter lead and were up three entering the fourth quarter, but could not hold on in a 95-85 loss at Indiana on March 22. Andres Nocioni posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds to pace Chicago (29-39). Kirk Hinrich added 14 points and Michael Sweetney tallied 12 points, nine boards and two blocked shots.
Chicago trimmed a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to seven inside of two minutes to play, but got no closer in a 113-104 loss to Washington on March 19. Luol Deng scored 10 points in the fourth to help ignite the comeback attempt for Chicago (29-38). Deng, along with Andres Nocioni, finished with 18, while Ben Gordon scored a team-high 20 and hit 4-of-6 from deep.
Chicago had a few chances to grab the lead but came up empty down the stretch in a 85-84 home loss to Miami on March 18. Luol Deng (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Andres Nocioni (14 and 12) tallied double-doubles for the Bulls (29-37). The Bulls had a chance to win after Miami's James Posey missed a 3-pointer with 18 seconds to go and Michael Sweetney drove to the basket. Two Miami players swarmed toward Sweetney, who dished to Deng near the left corner. Deng launched a shot from just inside the arc that popped out of the rim, allowing the Heat to escape with the win.
The Bulls nearly overcame a 26-point third-quarter deficit before falling, 104-88 in Milwaukee on March 15. Andres Nocioni scored a career-high 25 points on 9-of-16 from the field with nine rebounds. Kirk Hinrich led the late rally, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the second half, and finished with 12 assists. Luol Deng added 15 points for Chicago (29-36).
Chicago scored 10 of the game's first 12 points and were off and running from there in a 95-66 victory over Portland at the United Center on March 14. Ben Gordon paced the Bulls with 23 points, seven rebounds and three steals; Kirk Hinrich scored 14, Andres Nocioni had 13 and newcomer Luke Schenscher added 10 for the Bulls (29-35), who led by as many as 38 and never trailed.
Chicago took the lead for good just three and a half minutes into the game and held off a late Atlanta run in a 95-90 road victory on March 11. Tyson Chandler collected 12 points and 12 rebounds for Chicago (28-35), which moved within 2 1/2 games of Milwaukee (30-32) for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Luol Deng scored 21 points and Kirk Hinrich added 18.
The Bulls trailed by five entering the fourth quarter, but could get no closer than four the rest of the way in a 107-96 loss to the visiting Clippers on March 10. Kirk Hinrich scored a team-high 21 points to lead Chicago (27-35). Luol Deng turned in a solid effort with 17 points and a career-high 18 rebounds and Andres Nocioni scored 15.
Chicago took the NBA's top team to the wire on March 8, holding a seven point halftime lead before coming up short, 106-101, at Detroit. After the hot two-quarter start, the Bulls (27-34) fell victim to a torrid Pistons rally in the third and battled back within three in the final period. But Andres Nocioni's potential game-tying trey was blocked and Detroit went on to ice it from the free throw line. Ben Gordon led Chicago with 28 points and Nocioni added 23.
The Bulls snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Nets with a 95-87 win at the United Center on March 7. Andres Nocioni led the way with 24 points while Kirk Hinrich (nine assists) and Luol Deng (eight rebounds) scored 22 apiece. That trio was the only players to reach double figures for Chicago (27-33), which trails Milwaukee by 2 1/2 games for the East's final playoff berth.
Luol Deng turned in his fourth straight double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds), but the Bulls were outscored by 16 in the fourth quarter of a 91-72 road loss in Cleveland on March 5. Ben Gordon scored 17 points for Chicago (26-33), while Kirk Hinrich chipped in 15 and six assists.
Chicago overcame a 16-point second half deficit to steal a 108-101 win over the Knicks on March 3. Kirk Hinrich had 13 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter as the Bulls (26-32) outscored New York 30-16. Ben Gordon had 21 of his 32 points after halftime, including a go-ahead trey with 31.7 seconds left. Luol Deng chipped in 17 points and 15 rebounds for Chicago.
The Bulls erased a 25-point deficit and led by two with under four seconds to go before falling 92-91 to the Cavaliers on March 2. Andres Nocioni, who scored nine points, missed a game-winning jumper at the buzzer for Chicago (25-32). Kirk Hinrich tallied 25 points and nine boards while Luol Deng added 18 and 10 for the Bulls. "Even though we played bad, we felt like we still put ourselves in a position to win the game," Deng said. "It just came down to mistakes in the end again. We can't put ourselves in that kind of situation but we've got to eliminate those mistakes."
Kirk Hinrich's near-triple-double allowed Chicago to hold off a late Minnesota charge and pull away for a 111-100 victory on Feb. 28. Hinrich scored 30 points, grabbed 13 rebounds (both season highs) and handed out nine assists, while the Bulls (25-31) saw a 12-point lead with 4:28 left dwindle to only five with 40.6 seconds on the clock. But Hinrich and Luol Deng, who added 24 points and 10 boards, hit clutch free throws down the stretch to ice it for Chicago. Malik Allen and Chris Duhon both left the game in the second quarter after suffering unrelated injuries and did not return.
The Bulls led the Sixers by a pair at intermission, but were outscored by nine in the third quarter en route to a 108-102 loss in Philly on Feb. 25. Chris Duhon hit four 3-pointers in the final period, but Chicago (24-31) could not get over the hump in the game's final minutes. Duhon finished with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting, while Ben Gordon and Luol Deng tallied 15 points apiece.
After trailing by 11 points at the half, Chicago (24-30) outscored Detroit by nine in the third quarter but could not complete the comeback, falling 95-87 at the United Center on Feb. 24. Ben Gordon continued his torrid scoring spree with 24 points. Andres Nocioni added 17 on 7-of-10 shooting. The loss was only the Bulls' second in their last six at home.
The Bulls came up with several big plays down the stretch in a 97-91 home victory over Milwaukee on Feb. 22. After Chicago (24-29) used a 9-0 run to take an 89-86 lead with 2:05 to play, Ben Gordon scored five of his 19 points in the final 30 seconds and Tyson Chandler had two key blocks. Kirk Hinrich finished with 26 points, while Luol Deng added 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Bulls started fast and never let up en route to a 117-84 win over visiting Philadelphia on Feb. 16. Ben Gordon scored 12 of his 21 points in the first quarter, helping Chicago (23-29) to a 38-22 lead. Kirk Hinrich added 18 points, Malik Allen contributed a season-best 16 and Andres Nocioni also chipped in 16.
The Bulls had a five-point lead with two minutes left in regulation, but could not hold on and took a 105-101 overtime loss to the visiting Sacramento Kings on Feb. 14. Ben Gordon scored 30 with seven assists and Kirk Hinrich had all 21 of his points after halftime. Tyson Chandler snatched 15 rebounds for Chicago (22-29) before fouling out late in the fourth.
The Bulls used a balanced attack and a big third quarter to best the Clippers 97-91 on Feb. 12. Jannero Pargo and Kirk Hinrich scored 17 apiece to lead six in double figures and Tyson Chandler added 10 rebounds. With the victory, the Bulls (22-28) closed out a seven-game road trip with a 2-5 mark.
The Bulls fell behind early and were unable to mount a comeback in a 98-80 loss to the Kings on Feb. 9. Tyson Chandler hauled in a game-high 16 rebounds but Chicago (21-28) got very little from the other starters. Reserves Andres Nocioni and Darius Songaila both scored 14 points to pace the Bulls.
Chicago watched a 20-point lead fall to one before turning it up late for a 110-107 road win over Denver on Feb. 8. The Bulls (21-27) outrebounded the Nuggets by 13 and shot nearly 48 percent from behind the arc. Ben Gordon notched his third straight 30-point game by pouring in eight of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. Darius Songaila scored 21 points and Luol Deng chipped in 16.
Ben Gordon's 3-ball with 7.6 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime, where the Bulls took a seven-point lead but could not hang on, falling in Utah, 109-107, on Feb. 6. Gordon scored 35 points on 11-of-24 shooting while Kirk Hinrich collected 19 points and six assists for Chicago (20-27), which tallied 20 fast-break points. Darius Songaila added 16 and seven boards for the Bulls.
Despite a brilliant performance from Ben Gordon, the Bulls took a 118-101 loss at Phoenix on Feb. 4. Gordon scored a career-high 39 points, shooting 9-of-13 from the arc, to go with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. The Bulls trailed by only two, 52-50, at half before the Suns pulled away by scoring a season-best 38 points in the third period, making 14-of-21 shots. Chicago (20-26) also got 17 from Luol Deng while Tyson Chandler added nine and 12 rebounds.
The Bulls rallied from a 17-point deficit against the Hornets on before taking a 100-95 road loss on Feb. 1. Darius Songaila's layup with 2:42 left gave Chicago (20-25) a 90-89 advantage, but the Hornets took the lead for good 20 seconds later. Kirk Hinrich scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half; he added six assists and five rebounds for the game. Songaila and Luol Deng each chipped in 18.
Chicago began its seven-game road trip with a 98-94 loss in Dallas on Jan. 31. The Bulls (20-24), who had won four in a row, trailed by 30 before mounting a furious comeback. Kirk Hinrich popped in a game-high 28 points and Tyson Chandler notched a double-double.
Chicago led by 23 at the half and then coasted to a 111-99 home win over the Hawks on Jan. 28. The Bulls (20-23) won their fourth straight as Ben Gordon led six Chicago players in double figures with 23 points. Kirk Hinrich scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half to help the Bulls take a 62-39 lead into the break. Loul Deng finished with 18 points and the resurgent Tyson Chandler added 10 and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who shot 54 percent (46-of-85) from the field and defeated the Hawks for a fifth straight time.
Ben Gordon scored 26 points and Tyson Chandler grabbed a season-high 20 rebounds as the Bulls won their third straight game, a 90-79 victory over the Washington Wizards on Jan. 27. Gordon made 9-of-22 shots, including 3-of-4 from the arc. He scored nine points in the final four-plus minutes, helping rebuild the lead from two points to double digits. Luol Deng scored 15 points for Chicago (19-23), which never trailed and gave up just one basket in the final 5:37.
Chicago led by 15 at halftime and then coasted to a 104-88 victory at Toronto on Jan. 25. The Bulls (18-23) held the Raptors to 35 percent shooting from the floor. Chris Duhon led the way with a career-high 26 points and eight assists, while Darius Songaila added 19 points. Chicago, which received 69 points off the bench, has now extended its win streak over Toronto to 12 games.
The Bulls outscored the Pacers by 12 in the third quarter to take control of a 101-89 road win on Jan. 21. Andres Nocioni paced Chicago (17-23) with 20 points, while Tyson Chandler had a season-high 15 points and 14 rebounds as the Bulls ended a 17-game losing streak in the Hoosier State. "I knew as long as I continued to put in the effort, things would come around," Chandler said.
Tracey McGrady had 35 points and nine rebounds and Juwan Howard scored a season-high 30 as the Rockets snapped their seven-game slide with a 109-108 double-overtime triumph over the host Bulls on Jan. 20. The Bulls had a chance to win in regulation, but Ben Gordon missed a three-pointer at the horn. Luol Deng scored 19 points and Gordon added 18 for Chicago (16-23), which shot 40 percent.
After New York again tied the game with 4.6 seconds left in overtime, Ben Gordon hit a long pull-up jumper at the buzzer to give Chicago a dramatic 106-104 home win on Jan. 18. Gordon finished with a season-high 32 points while Kirk Hinrich finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Darius Songaila and Nocioni collected 14 points apiece for the Bulls (16-22), who forced 23 turnovers and won for just the third time in their last 14 home games.
Chris Duhon's desperation half-court shot fell short at the buzzer and Chicago lost 97-94 to Denver on Jan. 16. Kirk Hinrich scored 20 points and Darius Songaila had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Bulls, who held a five-point lead with less than two minutes remaining before the Nuggets used a late 10-0 run to take control. Chicago (15-22) shot better than 45 percent from the field but only attempted 12 free throws while Denver connected on 31.
Ben Gordon's floater at the final horn seemed to tie the game and send it to overtime, but after checking the video replay the referees determined the ball left his hand fractions of a second after the buzzer in Chicago's 91-89 home loss to Indiana on Jan. 14. Six Bulls (15-21) scored in double figures, led by Andres Nocioni and Darius Songaila who scored 15 and 14 respectively.
Andres Nocioni scored a career-high 23 points, but the Bulls came up just short in a 99-93 loss at Minnesota on Jan. 11. Chicago (15-20) cut the lead to two with 10 seconds to play before the Timberwolves hit four straight free throws to seal the game. Kirk Hinrich tallied a career-high 17 assists and added 17 points and eight rebounds. Ben Gordon and Michael Sweetney scored 19 and 12, respectively.
Kirk Hinrich led five players in double figures with 25 points as the Bulls made it 11 straight wins over Toronto, 113-104, on Jan. 9. Luol Deng had 21 points, Ben Gordon added 19 and Andres Nocioni contributed 18 with nine boards for Chicago (15-19), which outscored the Raptors 30-10 in the second quarter and staved off a late Toronto charge for its third consecutive victory overall.
The Bulls won back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 29 with a 111-82 win over the visiting Grizzlies on Jan. 7. Chicago (14-19) held a 10-point lead at halftime before outscoing Memphis 30-15 in the third to blow the game open. Kirk Hinrich scored 26 points and Ben Gordon had 21. Othella Harrington and Andres Nocioni combined to shoot 9-for-9 from the field and score 26 points.
The Bulls snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 105-91 win in Milwaukee on Jan. 6. Chicago (13-19) held just a one-point lead after three quarters, but erupted in the fourth, outscoring the Bucks by 13 to cruise to victory. Kirk Hinrich's 18 points led seven Bulls in double figures. Othella Harrington added 11 and ripped down 13 rebounds. It was Chicago's first win in Milwaukee since 1998.
The Bulls trailed the Sonics by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter and scratched back to within two before falling to Seattle 101-97 on Jan. 4. Darius Songalia poured in 11 of his 20 points in the fourth. Ben Gordon added a team-high 21 for the Bulls (12-19), who shot 40 percent (33-of-81), including 9-of-25 from the arc.
The Bulls came up just short, falling 93-92 at home to Milwaukee on Jan. 2. Ben Gordon scored 28 to lead Chicago. Othella Harrington scored a season-high 19 points off the bench and Luol Deng added 16 and 10 rebounds for the Bulls (12-18), who extended their worst losing streak since dropping the first nine games of last season.
Kirk Hinrich's three-pointer with 1:44 left in the fourth quarter gave Chicago a five-point lead, but the Bulls couldn't close it out in regulation and eventually fell to Phoenix 107-98 in overtime at the United Center on Dec. 31. Kirk Hinrich scored 25 points and Luol Deng collected 16 and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who lost their sixth in a row. Chicago (12-17) shot 43 percent (41-of-95) from the field.
Chicago was tied at halftime but mustered only 35 second-half points in a 93-80 loss to the Bobcats on Dec. 28. Luol Deng led the Bulls (12-16) with 18 points on 9-of-14 from the field, while Darius Songaila connected on 5-of-8 in a 12-point effort. "We haven't played well of late," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "It's obvious for everybody to see. In order for us to win an NBA game we have to play a lot better than we're playing right now."
The Bulls made a valiant third-quarter charge but were held off in Cleveland, falling to the Cavs 102-91 on Dec. 26. Chicago (12-15) found itself down by 10 at the half and clawed to within one in the third before Cleveland pulled away for the win. Tyson Chandler, Chris Duhon and Andres Nocioni led six Bulls in double figures with 15 points apiece.
The Bulls fell behind early and could not get back into the game in a 95-77 loss in Memphis on Dec. 23. Andres Nocioni scored 14 points, Darius Songaila had 11 and Luol Deng chipped in 10. Tyson Chandler scored eight and grabbed 12 rebounds. The Bulls (12-14) shot just 21 percent on three-pointers (3-of-14). The league's top defensive team, Memphis held an opponent to less that 80 points for the ninth time this season as it completed a 3-2 homestand.
The Bulls had an eight point lead entering the fourth quarter, but were outscored by 16 in the period in a 108-100 loss to Cleveland on Dec. 22. Andres Nocioni scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds and Ben Gordon chipped in 22 points for Chicago (12-13). Luol Deng returned to the line-up and poured in 16 points after missing the team's previous game with a knee injury.
Chicago fell to the Bobcats 105-92 on Dec. 20 at the United Center. Six Bulls (12-12) netted double figures, including Othella Harrington and Chris Duhon, who chipped in 16 apiece. Duhon nailed four of his seven attempts from downtown. "Chris had a good game," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "Other than that we were hard-pressed to find other guys to step up. They just outhustled us all over the floor."
The Bulls led by as many as 34 and never trailed in an impressive 118-86 victory over the Celtics on Dec. 17. Five Chicago (12-11) players scored in double figures, treating the United Center faithful to a dazzling offensive display. Michael Sweetney led the way with 24 points. Chris Duhon added 22 and eight assists while Darius Songalia and Andres Nocioni scored 16 apiece.
The Bulls fell behind by 13 at the half, and never recovered, dropping a 110-82 decision to the host Pistons on Dec. 16. Chicago (11-11) was led by Chris Duhon with 13 points and Luol Deng with 11. "They showed why they're the best team in the league right now," said Duhon. "We couldn't do anything offensively. We couldn't do anything defensively. Our energy level was down. We should feel embarrassed."
Chicago used a huge third quarter to turn a five-point halftime deficit into a 105-94 road win over Toronto on Dec. 14. Darius Songaila's 18 points paced seven players in double figures. The Bulls (11-10) outshot the Raptors 58 percent to 41 percent in the victory, their 10th straight in the series.
"Each game he (Songaila) has shown another dimension," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "He had some nice post moves tonight and he was able to find some guys, besides the fact that he was making open shots and playing great defense."
Kirk Hinrich poured in 15 fourth-quarter points, but the Bulls couldn't catch the visiting Heat in a 100-97 loss on Dec. 13. Hinrich scored a team-high 26 and added eight assists and five rebounds. Chicago (10-10) nearly overcame a 12-point deficit, but Luol Deng's 3-point attempt at the buzzer didn't fall. Darius Songaila scored 19 and Jannero Pargo added 11 for the Bulls.
Darius Songaila scored eight of his season-high 15 points in the fourth quarter as the Bulls overcame a huge night from Gilbert Arenas en route to a 118-111 victory over the Washington Wizards on Dec. 10. Trailing by nine with three minutes to go, the Bulls closed the game with a 16-0 spurt to earn the road win.
Chris Duhon scored 24 and added seven assists, Kirk Hinrich had 22 points and 13 dimes. Luol Deng had 21 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for the Bulls (10-9), who led by as many as 14 points in the first half.
Kobe Bryant collected 23 points and eight assists as the Los Angeles Lakers won their fourth straight game and spoiled ceremonies honoring Scottie Pippen with a 93-80 triumph over Chicago on Dec. 9. Kirk Hinrich scored a season-high 26 points for the Bulls (9-9), who cut the deficit to 72-68 entering the final period. Michael Sweetney added 22 points for Chicago, which was playing without leading scorer Ben Gordon (sprained right knee).
The Bulls used a strong third quarter charge to beat the Magic 102-93 on Dec. 7 and pull back above the .500 mark. Chicago (9-8) outscored Orlando 35-17 in the third behind Jannero Pargo, who scored 11 of his game-high 23 points in the period. Luol Deng added 22 and 10 rebounds off the bench.
"It's been a lot of hard work," Pargo said. "I've been coming into practice early and staying late. I've been working on my shot and working on my game. I had an opportunity to come out and show it tonight and took advantage of it."
Point guard Kirk Hinrich left the game with a concussion three minutes after tip-off and Chicago lost to Dallas 102-94 on Dec. 5. Luol Deng, who scored 25 points off the bench for the Bulls (8-8), responded with a 3-pointer to trigger a 13-4 burst. Ben Gordon, who scored 26 points, capped the run with a floater at the 3:58 mark to trim the deficit to 92-91.
"We made a run, but our defense wasn't really up to par," Gordon said. "This includes myself and my teammates, we just weren't in the game defensively at times. I think that is our main problem."
The host Bulls led by 15 in the first half before cooling off in a 92-79 loss to the Pistons on Dec. 3. Luol Deng tallied 18 points and nine rebounds for Chicago (8-7), while Mike Sweetney scored 15 and pulled down eight boards. Ben Gordon added 13 points for the Bulls.
The Bulls hung on for a 106-102 win over the Celtics on Dec. 2. Chicago (8-6) led by eight at the half before Boston rallied in the third quarter. The Bulls regained control of the game by outscoring the Celtics 35-26 in the final period.
Luol Deng and Ben Gordon led the Bulls down the stretch, scoring 28 and 20 points, respectively. Tyson Chandler added 10 points and pulled down 16 rebounds on his way to a double-double.
The Bulls were leading after three quarters, but struggled in the final period and were dealt a 109-101 loss by the host Knicks on Nov. 30. New York connected on 45 free throws, while Chicago (7-6) attempted only 25.
Ben Gordon scored 28 points in 28 minutes, and Andres Nocioni added 19. Chicago, which had played well in the final portion of its annual November West Coast trip, shot 50 percent (20-of-40) en route to a 58-50 edge at halftime. The Bulls stretched their lead to 69-57 on Kirk Hinrich's 3-pointer with 6:55 to play in the third period but were outscored, 52-32, the rest of the way.
The Bulls returned home after their six-game road swing and defeated the Magic 85-76 on Nov. 29. Chicago (7-5) trailed by one at the half, but outscored Orlando 27-16 in the third quarter. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 21 points and Kirk Hinrich chipped in 20 to go along with 14 assists.
“We got off to a slow start but we picked up the intensity toward the end of the second quarter," forward Mike Sweetney said. "The results we are seeing are coming from how much work we put in during practice. We just have to keep working at it to get more wins.”
A big third quarter helped Chicago (6-5) build a lead, and the Bulls held off a late Houston run to earn a 94-89 win on Nov. 26. The victory gives Chicago three straight to close its six-game road trip. The Bulls' reserves, led by Ben Gordon's 18, outscored the Rockets' bench, 49-13.
Chicago, which completed a 3-3 road trip, remained steady in the closing minutes. "It's playing with confidence, playing with poise," Kirk Hinrich said. "Hopefully it says we're getting better."
The Bulls' 106-99 win on Nov. 25 was their first in San Antonio since 1998 and their second straight on a six-game road swing. Ben Gordon had 19 points to lead five Bulls (5-5) in double figures, and Tyson Chandler chipped in 12 rebounds against the defending champs.
"We usually have a tendency to play well against them. We just haven't been able to get over the hump," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "But tonight we made a lot of big plays and got a good win. We went small lineup at times tonight as the Spurs also did, and we hit big shots. That played to our advantage."
Mike Sweetney and Chris Duhon combined to hit three key free throws down the stretch as the Bulls knocked off the Lakers in Los Angeles, 96-93 on Nov. 20. Duhon scored a team-high 21 for Chicago (4-5), while Sweetney was an inside force, scoring 20 and ripping down 12 boards.
“It was huge for us," Tyson Chandler said of the win. "Especially on this west coast trip, we didn’t want to go back 0-4. We’ve been having trouble on this trip ever since I’ve been here and we definitely wanted to get a win out here.”
Luol Deng came off the bench to drop in 16 points, but the Bulls couldn't make an 11-point halftime lead stand in a 98-84 loss to the Sonics on Nov. 18. Michael Sweetney posted a double-double for Chicago (3-5), scoring 13 and grabbing 11 rebounds.
"They took the same shots in the first half as the second half but our defense just collapsed," Deng said. "As a team, we've got to learn to maintain a 48-minute game. We can't just show up in the first half."
Chicago trailed by nine at the end of the third quarter and made a run late in the fourth before ultimately falling to the Blazers, 96-93, on Nov. 16. The Bulls (3-4) went ahead by one with 15.3 seconds left, but lost the lead for the final time six seconds later. Forward Mike Sweetney put together a solid all-around performance, scoring 24 points and hitting the glass hard for 14 rebounds. Andres Nocioni added 18 and 7 for Chicago, which allowed Portland to shoot 52 percent (34-of-66) from the field.
Chicago struggled from the field and was dealt a 100-82 loss by the host Warriors on Nov. 14 to start a six-game road trip. The loss closes the season series between the two teams, with each earning one victory. Andres Nocioni led the way with 17 points and Jannero Pargo made four treys for the Bulls, now 3-3 on the season.
Luol Deng led five Bulls (3-2) in double figures in a 103-98 victory over the visiting Jazz on Nov. 12. Deng scored a season-high 21 points and Kirk Hinrich posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 assists. “We've been really talking about coming out and starting the game well," said Deng. "The offense was excellent. Everyone was knocking down shots, and that kept us going.”
Mike Sweetney's two free throws with six seconds to play were the difference in Chicago's 85-84 victory over the visiting Warriors on Nov. 9. Kirk Hinrich scored a game-high 23 for the Bulls (2-2), who trailed by as many as 11. Ben Gordon added 12 points for Chicago, which shot 46 percent (31-of-67), held a 45-42 rebounding advantage and won despite committing 26 turnovers.
Despite having six players score in double digits, the Bulls were unable to keep pace with the Spurs in overtime, falling 104-95 on Nov. 7. Luol Deng led the charge for Chicago (1-2), scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds. "Against a team like that you cannot make many mistakes," said Head Coach Scott Skiles. "Overall, I've got to be encouraged about our effort."
The Bulls and Nets went back and forth on Nov. 5, but Chicago couldn't pull out the victory, losing to New Jersey 100-99. Trailing by eight at the end of the third quarter, Chicago (1-1) fought back in the fourth, taking the lead with less than ten seconds to play before Richard Jefferson's three-point play gave the Nets the lead and the win.
Kirk Hinrich (26 points) and Ben Gordon (23) led the way for the Bulls. After Gordon split a pair of free throws to give Chicago a 99-97 lead with 7.2 seconds remaining, Jason Kidd found Jefferson breaking to the basket for a layup with 1.5 seconds to go. Jefferson was fouled by Tyson Chandler and made the go-ahead free throw.
The Bulls tipped off the team's 40th season with a remarkable 109-105 come-from-behind victory over the Bobcats in overtime on Nov. 2. Trailing by as many as 25 points, Chicago (1-0) mounted its comeback behind Chris Duhon's triple-double (18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds) and clutch shooting from Darius Songaila, who nailed a jumper to tie the game at 98-98 at the end of regulation.
"We were unbelievably soft in the first three quarters," said Head Coach Scott Skiles. "As a result, they were putting it to us. Our help defense was bad, our perimeter defense was bad. Then, for whatever reason, the switch flipped and we turned it around.”