8:00 PM ET, February 28, 2013
United Center, Chicago, IL
CHICAGO -- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau needed just three words to sum up Joakim Noah's big night on Thursday.
"He was spectacular," Thibodeau said.
Noah had 23 points, 21 rebounds and a career-high 11 blocks for his third career triple-double, and the Chicago Bulls ended a two-game losing streak with a 93-82 victory over Philadelphia.
"His will from the start of the game until the end was just incredible," Thibodeau said. "He was everywhere -- blocked shots, switching, guarding everyone. Big-time multiple efforts."
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Noah also tied the Bulls record for blocks in a regulation game, previously set by Artis Gilmore in 1977.
"He was amazing," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. "(But) we needed everybody to step up and we did. It was impressive."
But Noah was quick to shrug off superlatives.
"It feels good, it feels really good to play well and win," he said. "It was a good win for us, and hopefully we can build on it."
But Sixers coach Doug Collins wasn't as reticent.
"Noah is so lively and he's so active and he's just on the move all the time," he said. "If you don't get your body on him, he's just going to be nightmares around the rim. He's got a great motor."
The loss was Philadelphia's season-high seventh in a row.
"If we made more shots, we would have won," Hawes said. "On defense we played well enough, they just made more plays than we did."
The Sixers rallied from a 16-point third-quarter deficit to get within four points at 75-71 on Hawes' dunk.
But Nate Robinson hit a jumper and added a 3-pointer following a Noah block -- his ninth of the game -- to push Chicago's lead to 80-71.
Noah added a 3-point play with 4:32 to play to restore a double-digit lead at 83-71. Philadelphia never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Boozer opened with eight points and Deng added six as Chicago had a 19-16 first-quarter lead less than nine minutes into the game.
Boozer and Turner each had 10 as the Bulls led 23-22 by the close of the quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Noah had back-to-back inside scores, hit a free throw and forced a turnover in a 55-second span as the Bulls went ahead 30-26.
Hinrich fired a perfect pass to Deng late in the quarter and the Bulls forward converted a 3-point play with 3.4 seconds left as the Bulls opened a 45-39 halftime lead.
Holiday had seven points in the quarter and closed the half with a game-high 13.
Hinrich scored his first points of the game early in the third quarter with a pair of jumpers as the Bulls maintained an eight-point lead. Chicago opened an 11-point lead as Noah's 3-point play that gave the Bulls a 53-42 lead.
The Bulls missed eight straight 3-point tries before Hinrich's long-distance shot gave them a 64-48 lead.
The Sixers found their shooting touch and trimmed the deficit to 68-62 on two Hawes free throws with 50 seconds left.
"We were very competitive," Collins said. "(But) the Bulls front line was tremendous ... Between Noah and Boozer they had 44 points and 33 rebounds and Noah's 11 blocks and those guys were 18 for 21 from the foul line. That ended up being the difference in the game."
Bulls star Derrick Rose still hasn't said when he'll come back, and Collins said Chicago was proceeding correctly with Rose's slow return. "The Chicago Bulls have a tremendous investment in Derrick Rose, you want to make sure this young guy is going to be ready to go. ... With both teams struggling recently, Thibodeau said it was important to maintain continuity even if there's a temptation to shake things up. "I think the preparation part is very, very important," he said. I don't think you can allow that to slip at all." ... Hinrich made his second straight appearance since missing three games with a right elbow injury. ... Bulls guard Richard Hamilton sat out Thursday's game with back spasms and Marco Belinelli started in his place.
Around The Association
Most valuable player: Tired of losing, Joakim Noah had a spark the entire game, finishing with an unusual triple-double. Noah tallied 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocks. He's the fourth player in the past 25 seasons to have at least 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks in a game.
Defining moment: With 6:24 left in the game, Noah blocked a layup attempt from Jeremy Pargo, and the ball eventually found its way to Nate Robinson, who hit a 3-pointer to put the Bulls up 80-71. After that five-point swing, the Sixers never got within seven points.
X factor: Free throw shooting. The Bulls got to the line 33 times, making 26 of them (78.8 percent). Philly took 21 free throws, five more than they average per game, but hit just 12 of those attempts (57.1 percent).
Next 5 Games
Game Score gives a rough measure of a player's productivity for a single game. 40 is an outstanding performance and 10 is an average performance. Joakim Noah's Game Score against the 76ers last night was 34.5, not even his highest of the season. Stephen Curry's performance against the Knicks had a Game Score of 46.1, 33.6% higher.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Joakim Noah became the first player in NBA history to record at least 20 points, 20 rebounds, 10 blocks and shoot at least 65 percent from the field in a single game. Blocks did not become an official stat until the 1973-74 season.
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