CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 31 (Ticker) -- The frontcourt tandem of Andres Nocioni and Luol Deng and a stellar second half by Chris Duhon helped the Chicago Bulls finally get a convincing win against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Nocioni scored 24 points and Deng added 21 while North Carolina native Duhon netted 17 of his 19 after the break as the Bulls posted a 113-107 triumph over the Bobcats.

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The victory allowed Chicago (32-40) to remain 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia (33-38) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"Every game is important for us," Duhon said. "We have a big one tomorrow (against Boston) and we have the opportunity to play Philadelphia twice and gain two games on them. They're all big from here. We've got to treat each game as if its a playoff game."

"What you saw was a team that was fighting for their life in terms of the playoff situation," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "We didn't match their intensity on defense. We weren't stopping anybody on the other end. They were penetrating and getting easy shots."

Chicago lost two of the previous three meetings with Charlotte (20-53), which owns the second-worst record in the NBA. In the win, the Bulls needed to rally from a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit to post a season-opening 109-105 overtime triumph.

Michael Sweetney, who scored 12 points in the first half, gave Chicago the lead for good with a three-point play at the 4:24 mark of the second quarter, which started a 10-0 burst that gave the Bulls a 31-21 advantage.

Chicago broke open the game at the end of the first half, when an 11-0 charge to close the second period made it 67-43. The Bulls shot 61 percent (30-of-49) in the first 24 minutes and got 44 points in the paint, compared to the Bobcats' 14.

"We just came out with a lot of energy," Deng said. "We knew that they used a lot of small lineups and we wanted to dump the ball in the post as much as we could and stay active. It was very successful for us in the first half."

"We knew that wasn't our team in the first half," Charlotte forward Jumaine Jones said. "We've been known for going out and competing and that was something that we weren't doing in the first half."

Nocioni, coming off of a career-high 26-point effort Tuesday against Orlando, had 13 points in the opening half. The Argentine also finished with 11 rebounds before fouling out.

"I played a good game, but I'm happy because the team won," Nocioni said. "That's the most important. I played good last game, but the team lost. For me, the most important thing is the playoffs."

Duhon's basket in the early stages of the third quarter gave Chicago a 69-43 lead, its biggest of the game.

Charlotte responded by scoring 12 straight points, with Brevin Knight collecting five of his 15 points during the run. The Bobcats eventually shaved the deficit to 76-67 with 2:11 remaining in the third quarter on a pair of free throws by Gerald Wallace.

"You've got to be really skilled with the ball, you've got to be sharp with your spacing, you've got to use your ball fakes, and that's something we're still working on," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "They made it interesting for us."

Although Chicago regained a 16-point bulge shortly thereafter, Charlotte did not allow the visitors to pull away. It again got within nine points and was poised to draw even closer with just under five minutes to go.

However, Duhon came up with a diving steal and buried a 3-pointer on the other end to make it 98-86 with 4:32 remaining. Duhon added another shot from the arc 38 seconds later to make it a 15-point game.

"They are a team that gambles and scrambles a lot in their defense," Duhon said. "We caught them in a situation where they weren't totally matched up, and we were able to find the right guys for the open shots."

Jones scored 28 points and Wallace added 26 for Charlotte, which got within five points three times in the last 33 seconds.

"We just came out slow and couldn't dig ourselves out of that hole and get over the hump that we needed to," Jones said.

Chicago made just 5-of-16 shots from the floor in the final period, but connected on 18 of its 24 free throw attempts to seal the victory.

"We made free throws, they fouled us and we made free throws," Skiles said. "We were able to get a couple of baskets when it was starting to get tight, and we held the off and kept them at bay. It was really just making free throws."