CHICAGO -- It seems odd to hear the Bulls talk about getting healthier on a Saturday night in which Carlos Boozer missed his first game of the season with a sore right knee.
But such has been the carnage of this season. Having only one player besides, of course, Derrick Rose sidelined is considered progress.
Here's more progress: A 91-84 victory over the Hawks at the United Center gave the Bulls two straight victories for just the third time this season. That's right, a team that has been so dominant in the regular season, particularly at home, owns just two two-game and one five-game winning streak all season.
But the Bulls keep insisting more good fortune is coming.
"So much of offense is timing and spacing and the only way you get that is by working and practicing together," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We're excited about having (almost) everyone back now. That's huge for the team and it puts everyone back in their normal role."
That said, Luol Deng again logged just 29 minutes, 42 seconds as he remains on a minutes restriction because of his left Achilles issues. And Kirk Hinrich played just 19:30, sitting out for a second-half stretch of 17:03 with a wrap on his right thigh until he came on for the final 80 seconds for defensive purposes.
Hinrich, who said he's fine and won't miss time, also sat for all but 2:28 of the second quarter because he suffered a bruised thigh when Elton Brand kneed him. D.J. Augustin relieved well with 11 points and seven assists.
Mike Dunleavy scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter and Deng added 17 points and 11 rebounds, including a 50-foot 3-pointer from beyond halfcourt to beat the halftime buzzer.
But the Bulls won with defense and rebounding, holding the Hawks to 37.2 percent shooting and a season-low in points. Jimmy Butler tied his career-high with five steals, emblematic of the Bulls' defensive prowess.
"Their defense is so good that you come in here and wonder if you're going to score 50 points," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Taj Gibson started for Boozer and contributed 10 points and 12 rebounds to aid a 52-43 rebounding edge. Joakim Noah also hit double figures in rebounds with 12.
"It wasn't pretty," Noah said. "We just found a way. Some nights it's going to be like that. When your shot isn't going and it's ugly offensively, you just have to dig down defensively and rebound and make it grimy. We did a good job of that."
Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap each scored 16 points to lead the Hawks, who had a Kyle Korver 3-pointer taken off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter after video review ruled it came after the shot clock expired.
"We'll take it," Hinrich said. "In spurts, we played very well. We just have to keep defending. Hopefully we can string some games together and build some momentum."
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