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Hobbled Bulls grab Game 7 win

Joakim Noah of the Bulls drives to the basket on the Nets’ Brook Lopez in the first quarter of Game 7. Noah scores 24 in Chicago’s victory.

Associated Press

Joakim Noah of the Bulls drives to the basket on the Nets’ Brook Lopez in the first quarter of Game 7. Noah scores 24 in Chicago’s victory.

NEW YORK — Joakim Noah had 24 points and 14 rebounds, Marco Belinelli also scored 24 and the shorthanded Bulls beat the Nets 99-93 Saturday night in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Carlos Boozer added 17 points as the Bulls shook off injuries to two starters and every run the Nets tried to make in the second half to win the first road Game 7 in franchise history. They advanced to an East semi­final against defending champion Miami. The series starts Monday.

The Bulls led by 17 at halftime after a rare offensive outburst and found a way to get big baskets every time the Nets pulled close to win the league's only do-or-die game of the first round.

"I thought our guys, we took a big punch in Game 1 and we kept fighting back and that's been the story of the season," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Deron Williams had 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Nets, trying to become the ninth NBA team to win a series after trailing 3-1.

With Luol Deng (illness) and Kirk Hinrich (bruised left calf) out, the Bulls leaned on Noah, a former Florida star who could barely play when the series started but logged 41 minutes and shot 12-of-17, then still had enough energy to climb over the baseline seats for a long embrace with his mother.

Noah helped the Bulls spoil the Nets' first home Game 7 at the end of their first season in Brooklyn as Chicago improved to 1-6 in road Game 7s.

Deng, tested for meningitis last week, was back in the hospital Friday and unable to travel. Hinrich warmed up in hopes of playing but was ruled out.

"I think we weren't as aggressive as they were, especially on the boards and the defensive end in the first half," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said.

Late Friday: Thunder, Grizzlies set up series

The West's top seed, Oklahoma City, and No. 5 seed Memphis ended their first-round series in Game 6s late Friday and set up a conference semifinal series against each other starting today.

The Thunder and Grizzlies slugged it out in a seven-game second-round series in 2011. There has been no love lost since between the teams, which combined for nine technical fouls in three meetings this season.

"That's their DNA," Thunder star Kevin Durant said of the Grizzlies. "That's what they do, and that's what we do. Guys are going to go out there pushing and shoving, and it's going to be a really physical series."

The Thunder closed out the Rockets with a 103-94 victory at Houston as Durant had 27 points and Kevin Martin 25. The Rockets were bidding to become the fourth team in history to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0.

The Grizzlies finished the Pacific Division champion Clippers 118-105 to become the 10th team in league history to win four straight after trailing 0-2, and the first to win the next four all by double digits.

Knicks, Pacers renew simmering rivalry

NEW YORK — The Pacers are rough and tough, but the Knicks say they're ready when the teams renew an old rivalry today to begin their East semifinal series.

"We know we're going to be in for a battle," Knicks center Tyson Chandler said. "We've got to be prepared physically to match their play, keep them off the glass, limit them to one shot and then run."

The Knicks and Pacers met in the playoffs three straight years from 1993-95, then again from 1998-00. But this Knicks team is better on offense.

"They made more 3s this year than any other team in NBA history, so we understand what they're capable (of)," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.

Newsday reported that New York's Amare Stoudemire, out since March 7 with a right knee issue, is aiming to return in Game 3 on Saturday at Indiana.

Bulls 99, Nets 93

CHICAGO (99): Butler 3-10 2-2 9, Boozer 6-13 5-6 17, Noah 12-17 0-0 24, Robinson 5-14 0-0 12, Belinelli 8-14 5-5 24, Gibson 2-5 0-0 4, Teague 2-5 0-0 4, Mohammed 1-2 0-0 2, Cook 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 40-82 12-13 99.

BROOKLYN (93): Wallace 8-16 0-0 19, Evans 0-0 2-2 2, Lopez 9-20 3-3 21, Williams 8-17 4-6 24, Johnson 2-14 1-1 6, Blatche 3-6 3-3 9, Brooks 2-2 0-0 4, Humphries 1-5 1-4 3, Watson 2-6 1-1 5. Totals 35-86 15-20 93.

Chicago 29 32 21 17— 99

Brooklyn 25 19 31 18— 93

3-Point GoalsChicago 7-21 (Belinelli 3-6, Robinson 2-7, Cook 1-2, Butler 1-4, Teague 0-2), Brooklyn 8-25 (Williams 4-8, Wallace 3-8, Johnson 1-9). ReboundsChicago 48 (Noah 14), Brooklyn 51 (Evans 13). AssistsChicago 20 (Butler, Robinson 4), Brooklyn 21 (Williams 7). FoulsChicago 14, Brooklyn 16. TechnicalsChicago defensive three second 2. A17,732 (17,732).

Hobbled Bulls grab Game 7 win 05/04/13 [Last modified: Sunday, May 5, 2013 12:21am]
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