CHICAGO – Luol Deng scored a game-high 25 points and the Bulls beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 93-88, on Saturday night.
Deng also had a season-high seven assists and has led the team in scoring in consecutive games. He scored 22 in a 101-78 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Richard Hamilton added 15 points for the Bulls, who played the 76ers for the first time since last season’s first-round playoff series.
Nate Robinson and Richard Hamilton each missed one of two free throws with less than 30 seconds left to keep it a one-possession game, but Hamilton grabbed the loose ball on his miss to get back to the line and seal the win.
Joakim Noah had 12 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists and Carlos Boozer had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Boozer has double-doubles in six of his past eight games.
Jrue Holiday led the 76ers with 23 points. Thaddeus Young added 22 points and seven rebounds.
Philadelphia, which had won three straight and seven of nine overall, failed to reach 100 points for just the second time in six games. The Sixers have won three in a row three times this season, but have not been able to win a fourth.
Philadelphia shot just 27.3 percent from long range and 43.8 percent from the field overall. The Bulls moved to 6-0 when holding teams to fewer than 90 points.
The Bulls downplayed talk of the rematch from last season’s early playoff exit throughout the week. But the memory clearly lingered with fans, who showered the Sixers with boos during introductions.
The Bulls lost reigning MVP Derrick Rose to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the final 90 seconds of a Game 1 win over the 76ers. The Bulls exited the first round in six games, just the fifth time in NBA history a No. 8 seed knocked off the No. 1 seed. Rose had surgery to repair his left knee in May and has been rehabbing since.
Philadelphia jumped out to an early 13-6 lead before the Bulls found a rhythm on offense.
Deng assisted Noah on a big first-quarter dunk to bring the bulls within two points, then was on the receiving end two possessions later with a dunk to tie it at 17.
Deng scored Chicago’s final seven points of the first quarter to contribute to a 21-6 Bulls run.
Philadelphia regained the lead with a minute left in the second half on Evan Turner’s fading leaner in the lane. Following another dunk by Noah, Holiday hit one of two free throws with 1.3 seconds left to send it to halftime tied at 41.
The Bulls survived a scare in the third quarter when Hamilton suffered a left foot sprain while on offense. Kirk Hinrich and Deng helped Hamilton limp off the floor. He left with 12 points and finished with 15 after returning late in the fourth quarter.