Chicago 106, Atlanta 104 (OT)

ATLANTA, Dec. 16 (AP) -- The tying free throws Ben Wallace made in the final minute of the fourth quarter might have surprised some people, though not his Chicago Bulls teammates.

Trailing by a point, Andres Nocioni hit a pair of free throws with 13.4 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Bulls to a 106-104 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Wallace, a 45-percent free throw shooter, had missed four of six before hitting two with 35 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

``It seems like I'm always in that position (shooting free throws late). I just wanted to get it up and give it a chance to go in,'' said Wallace, who has an unusually high arc to his free-throw attempts.

``They were two big ones. I'm sure everybody in the building thought he's miss one,'' said teammate Ben Gordon, who had 23 points.

Kirk Hinrich, who had a team-high 24 points along with Nocioni, had no doubts.

``No question. He makes them when he has to. It's as if he's got a much higher percentage because he makes them when it counts. I'd say he's more like an 80-percent shooter when he needs to knock them down,'' he said.

Joe Johnson missed a jumper with about 5 seconds left in overtime, the Bulls rebounded and Hinrich added one of two free throws with 1.9 seconds left.

``I pretty much didn't have my legs,'' said Johnson, who scored 23 points but had missed the previous four games with a right calf strain and played nearly 45 minutes. ``I was pretty much exhausted. I tried to give the team the best I had. It was tough.''

Nocioni scored five of his 24 points in overtime and Luol Deng added 19 points as the Bulls won for the 11th time in 12 games.

Atlanta's Marvin Williams matched a career-high with 23 points. Zaza Pachulia added 16 points and Josh Smith had 14, while Speedy Claxton had 11 assists.

The Bulls came back from an 87-75 deficit in the final period to tie the score at 93 on Wallace's free throws. The big center also added team-highs with 15 rebounds and eight assists.

``That 14-0 run by them, I don't know,'' Gordon said. ``We've had a lot of games like that but we seem to be able to turn it on when we needed to.''

Williams scored six points in Atlanta's 14-0 run to open the fourth quarter and give the Hawks an 87-75 lead with just over 8 minutes left.

Williams had a chance to win it in regulation for the Hawks, but missed a long jumper with 19 seconds left and Gordon missed a jumper with 2 seconds remaining to send it to overtime.

Williams had nine points in the final quarter.

``This was a tough one,'' said Atlanta coach Mike Woodson. ``The difference is that they drove the ball and we settled for jump shots.''

The Bulls led 75-73 after three quarters on a 3-pointer by Gordon with 21 seconds left in the quarter.

Atlanta led 55-51 at the half. Johnson, who is third in the league in scoring, scored 16 points.

Notes: Atlanta G Tyronn Lue, averaging 14.7 points, did not dress due to a groin injury. ... Chicago starting guard Chris Duhon, averaging 8.1 points, was also out with a left thigh bruise. Adrian Griffin, who was averaging 2.1 points, replaced Duhon.


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