Derrick Rose scored a game-high 24 points and Carlos Boozer added 19 to power the Chicago Bulls past New Orleans 85-77 on Monday, as the Hornets played without -concussion-sidelined star Chris Paul.
Luol Deng and Ron Brewer each added 10 points, while Joakim Noah contributed six points and 13 rebounds and Rose added nine assists as the Bulls rose to 44-18, second in the Eastern Conference by one-and-a-half games over Miami.
“It was a good win. It was a win that we really needed,” Noah said. “Look at the top four, five teams in the East, everything is really close. So every game is very important. We understand that. We’re just staying focused on improving and winning.”
The Hornets failed to score in the final 3 minutes, 19 seconds, as they fell to 37-29, dropping to seventh in the Western Conference.
Paul, a four-time NBA All-Star, collided with Cleveland guard Ramon Sessions in the third quarter of a victory over Cleveland on Sunday and was replaced in the Hornets lineup by Jarrett Jack, who led New Orleans on Monday with 23 points.
“It wasn’t necessarily my goal to come out and get 20 points,” Jack said. “I just come out and try to be aggressive. If I’m aggressive, usually everyone else is aggressive.”
Paul’s status was uncertain for the Hornets’ next game today against Dallas, as was that of Trevor Ariza, who missed the contest with a left adductor strain.
“Hard to fault our guys when they play that way, off of back-to-back [games] and not having Chris and Trevor,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said.
Italy’s Marco Belinelli added 17 points and nine rebounds for New Orleans, while David West contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets.
Rose sank two free throws with 35 seconds remaining to put the Bulls ahead 83-77 on their way to a 10th triumph in 12 games.
“We’re just playing good right now,” Rose said.
The Bulls won their ninth home game in a row, their longest home win streak since the final NBA championship season of Michael Jordan’s Bulls about 13 seasons ago — a span filled with years of frustration and rebuilding.
“In the past, I really think we would have struggled with [winning this] game,” Deng said.
KNICKS 131, JAZZ 109
In New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and Amare Stoudemire added 31 as the New York Knicks beat the Utah Jazz.
Anthony and Stoudemire combined to make 24 of 31 shots, then were on the bench for the entire final period.
Stoudemire departed long before the third even ended, shooting 12 of 15 in just 24 minutes, and Anthony soon joined him after his first 30-point game with the Knicks.
Toney Douglas had 20 points in a strong start in place of the injured Chauncey Billups as the Knicks moved a game ahead of Philadelphia for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. New York shot 56 percent from the field in their highest-scoring effort of the season.
Al Jefferson scored a season-high 36 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Jazz, who opened an important four-game road trip by losing for the ninth time in 11 games.
TRAIL BLAZERS 89, MAGIC 85
In Orlando, Florida, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points and Andre Miller added 15 as Portland held on to beat Orlando, which were without the suspended Dwight Howard.
Portland won their third straight, and 10th in 13 games. The Blazers also swept the two-game season series with Orlando.