Led by reserve guard Aaron Brooks, who scored 15 of his season-high 17 points in the fourth quarter, the Bulls won their second game in a row by edging the New Orleans Pelicans 98-94 on Saturday night at the United Center.
Brooks, who's listed at 6-foot, went 3-for-6 on 3-pointers in the fourth and banked in a running layup over 6-8 forward Dante Cunningham with 40.3 seconds left to give the Bulls a 96-94 lead that led to the win.
"I was just trying to make some shots," said Brooks, who's been trying to regain his scoring prowess and speed off the bench after missing four games in November with a hamstring strain. "We just played free (in the fourth) and moved the ball. It (opened) lanes to attack."
Bulls point guard Derrick Rose finished with nine points, and hit a key fade-away jumper with 11.5 seconds left to put the Bulls (13-8) up by four. His jumper was shot over 6-10 forward Anthony Davis, who finished with 22 points and four blocked shots.
Six Chicago players finished in double-figure scoring, led by Pau Gasol's 12th double-double of the season (18 points and 11 rebounds). Nikola Mirotic had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double, while guard Jimmy Butler added 15 points, forward Doug McDermott scored 12 and center Joakim Noah finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots.
Seven Bulls scored in the fourth when Chicago outscored New Orleans 34-24. It was the opposite of the first quarter when the Bulls were outscored 28-20 and committed seven turnovers.
"We'll watch the first and fourth (quarters) with our team (Sunday) and try to show the difference," Hoiberg said. "You know, (point out) 'This is what happens when we play the right way, when we share the ball and when we move.'"
New Orleans led 70-64 to start the fourth, but the Bulls overcame it with a 9-0 run in the first 2:17 of the quarter, all on 3-pointers. Brooks, who shot 6-for-11, hit back-to-back 3s and Kirk Hinrich drilled one from the corner to give Chicago a 73-70 lead, its first of the second half.
"We can't give Brooks those 3-point field goals in that situation," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "We were too far off. It is just one of those mistakes we can't make at that period in the game, especially the way he's shooting the ball."
Evans gave New Orleans a 91-89 lead with 2:59 left to play, but Brooks' third 3-pointer put Chicago back up 92-91 on the next possession. The Bulls, who never held a third-quarter lead, closed it out from there.
"The effort was there," Davis said. "They had some shots. Aaron Brooks made that tough layup and (Rose) made that jumper. They just made big shots."
Chicago finished with a big advantage in free throws: The Bulls hit 24 of 29 from the free-throw line to just 8 of 11 for the Pelicans.
NOTES: New Orleans played without G Jrue Holiday (lower right leg), F Ryan Anderson (stomach illness) and F/G Quincy Pondexter (left knee). Pondexter hasn't played yet this season while recovering from knee surgery. Anderson missed his second straight game after sitting out the Pelicans' 107-105 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday in New Orleans. ... Bulls F Mike Dunleavy hasn't played this season while recovering from back surgery. ... Bulls G Jimmy Butler sank his 1,000th career free throw with 4:29 left in the first quarter. ... Chicago G E'Twaun Moore and New Orleans G Eric Gordon played against each other in the 2007 4A Indiana State Championship Game. Moore led East Chicago Central to an 87-83 upset victory over North Central. Gordon, who led North Central, was named Indiana Mr. Basketball that season.