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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bulls win again without Rose


CHICAGO — Even without the league's reigning MVP for a major part of the season, the Chicago Bulls have kept up their winning ways.

News photo
Muscle shot: New York's Tyson Chandler goes up in the lane against Orlando's Glen Davis in the second half on Thursday night. The Knicks defeated the Magic 96-80. AP

Luol Deng scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half and Joakim Noah added 17 points and nine rebounds to rally the Chicago Bulls to a 93-86 win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

The Bulls again played without Derrick Rose, out due to a strained groin for the 12th consecutive game. Chicago, which has been without Rose for 22 games this season, improved to 15-7 in his absence — including 8-4 during the latest stretch.

"I think the big thing is you look at what you have. Our team has shown all year that we have great fight and we believe we can win with whoever we have out there and they have shown that all year," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Noah will be glad to have Rose back, but does not want the Bulls to get complacent when Rose returns to the lineup.

"We definitely want Derrick back out there, he helps, but even when Derrick comes back it's not going to be easy," Noah said. "We have a long road ahead, a lot of games, a lot of battles. With Derrick back we have to play hungry. When we play hungry, we're tough to beat."

The Bulls rallied from 13 points down in the first half and pulled away in the fourth quarter to end their first two-game losing streak of the season. Trailing by 11 at halftime, Chicago outscored Boston 55-37 after the break — which had Celtics coach Doc Rivers steaming after the game.

"I had to use two timeouts ... to remind us that we are actually having an NBA game tonight," said Rivers. "I thought this was the worst loss for us this year the way we approached the game."

Paul Pierce scored 22 points for Boston, which has lost two in a row after a winning a season-high five straight. Pierce had only one point in the fourth quarter.

"That was an unacceptable effort for us. I don't say that very often. I don't think I've ever said that before," said Rivers.

Knicks 96, Magic 80

In Orlando, Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points, Tyson Chandler had 12 points and 12 rebounds and New York ran the Magic.

Orlando's loss came on the heels of coach Stan Van Gundy's comments Thursday heard from top team officials that Dwight Howard has asked that he be fired.

Howard was held to just eight points and eight rebounds.

Pistons 99, Wizards 94

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Greg Monroe had 18 points and seven rebounds, Rodney Stuckey scored 15 points in his return from injury, and Ben Wallace made five key free throws down the stretch to lead Detroit.

Guard John Wall finished with 28 points and 10 assists for Washington in the loss.

Clippers 93, Kings 85

In Sacramento, Blake Griffin made three straight jumpers in the closing minutes to finish with 14 points and nine rebounds, lifting Los Angeles past the Kings

Griffin's last jumper with 2:18 remaining put the Clippers ahead by three, and they held on to rebound from a loss to the Lakers a night earlier that ended a six-game winning streak — the franchise's best in 20 years — and slowed momentum to overtake its crosstown rival in the Pacific Division.

Randy Foye scored 20 points and Chris Paul had 13 points and eight assists for Los Angeles, closing to two games back of the Lakers. The Clippers will host Sacramento on Saturday night.

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