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Bibby, Hawks slip past Bulls

Jan 21, 2009 - 5:13 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Mike Bibby scored 31 points and the Atlanta Hawks had the last surge in a game of spurts and jolted the Chicago Bulls, 105-102, on Tuesday.

The Hawks trailed 94-93 after top overall pick Derrick Rose made a layup with 5:18 left.

Atlanta then went on a 7-0 run that was capped by Bibby's basket from beyond the arc for a 100-94 advantage with 3:58 left.

"We didn't turn the ball over tonight," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "Our defense was especially good coming down the stretch, Mike's steal with about 40 seconds left turned the tide in the game."

After Ben Gordon stopped the tear with a jumper, Bibby countered with a basket from 22 feet.

Bibby made his fifth steal of the game with 39 seconds left and followed with a jumper to give Atlanta a 104-98 lead with 18 seconds remaining.

"It just looked like they wanted to get out and run with it," Bibby said. "I just waited around and made a quick move back toward the ball and I don't think they saw me coming."

Bibby ignited the Hawks with a stellar performance. He was 12-of-21 from the field, including 5-of-10 from behind the arc, added six assists to go with the five steals.

"Tonight he carried us," Woodson said. "We are missing some of our regular players due to injury. So at the shootaround I talked about guys stepping up and that's what we did tonight."

Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro agreed with his counterpart.

"I thought the turnovers really hurt and Mike Bibby really had his way with us," Del Negro said. "Our defense was good at times but they still hit some 3s. We had too many turnovers in the first half, this is a tough loss for us and we have to find ways to get better."

The game was a see-saw affair throughout with neither team seemingly able to take control.

Atlanta jumped to an 11-point lead in the first quarter only to see Chicago go on a 14-0 run to take the lead at 20-17.

The Bulls opened a 39-31 lead in the second quarter, but the Hawks closed fast and only trailed 53-50 at the break.

"We knew we had to pick it up in the second half tonight," said Joe Johnson, who scored 16 points.

"Our outside shooting really carried us when started to hit some 3s. They guarded tight inside in the paint, that helped our perimeter game."

The opening of the third quarter looked like the start of the game as Atlanta got out quickly and used a 12-0 run to take a 72-61 advantage.

Just when the Bulls appeared to be done, they charged back, finishing the quarter on a 16-5 spurt and the game was tied at 77-77 after three quarters.

"We are getting close but we are not getting over the hump and winning games at the end," said Gordon, who had a team-high 21 points. "They made the plays when the game was on the line, losing is never fun."