Bibby scores nine in final five minutes; Hawks recover to beat Bulls

CHICAGO -- Mike Bibby will always seek other options when his shot's not falling. This time, there was no need to look elsewhere.

Bibby scored nine of his season-high 31 points in the final five minutes, and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Chicago Bulls 105-102 Tuesday to complete a three-game season sweep.

"I'm just trying to make things happen," he said.

Solid throughout the game, Bibby came up big in the end.

The Bulls were leading 94-93 after Derrick Rose drove for a layup, but Bibby buried a jumper over Joakim Noah to start a decisive 7-0 spurt that sent the Hawks to their second win in as many nights. Flip Murray then converted a layup on a two-on-one after Chicago's Luol Deng hit the side of the backboard on a drive, and Bibby finished it with a 3-pointer that made it 100-94 with just under four minutes left.

Bibby also came up with a key steal -- one of five for him -- with 40 seconds left when he knocked the ball away as Ben Gordon tried to catch a pass near midcourt. Gordon fell to the ground and the crowd booed the non-call. Bibby then hit a jumper to make it 104-98, sending the Hawks to their first sweep over the Bulls.

"It just looked like they wanted to run a little bit, so I was hanging around," Bibby said. "They didn't see me so I just made a shot in there for the ball."

That's the sort of night it was for him. On offense and defense, Bibby rarely missed.

"He is one of those types of players that when he gets it going, it's kind of hard to stop him," said Josh Smith, who had 17 points and 14 rebounds. "In clutch situations, when we needed a bucket, he was hitting big shot after big shot."

Bibby hit 12 of 21 shots in all, 5-for-10 from 3-point range, and while he did his part to carry the Hawks, teammates were there to lend a hand.

Smith delivered his seventh double-double. Zaza Pachulia scored a season-high 18 points, and Joe Johnson added 16 for the Hawks, who have struggled this month after enjoying their best December in 21 years. After winning 11 of 15 last month, Atlanta is 4-6 in January thanks in part to injuries up front.

With Al Horford missing his sixth straight game with a bone bruise in his right knee and Marvin Williams (concussion) sitting out his second in a row, the only healthy regular up front was Josh Smith. And although the Hawks took a beating on the boards against Chicago, getting outrebounded 48-34, they still managed to hand the Bulls their third straight loss.

Gordon led Chicago with 21 points, Andres Nocioni added 15, and Deng had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich and Rose scored 13 apiece, but 18 turnovers did in the Bulls.

The Bulls didn't flinch when the Hawks jumped out to a 17-4 lead, nor did they blink when Atlanta scored 14 in a row to go up 72-61 midway through the third quarter. They again put forth the effort that's been lacking most of the year, just as they did in losing the previous two to San Antonio and New York, but got nothing to show for it.

"That's pretty much the story of our season so far," Gordon said. "We get close, just not very good at closing games out."

That's something the Bulls usually did in past seasons, when they made the playoffs. It's also something they haven't done the past two years.

"We're still fighting for a playoff spot," said Hinrich, who did all his scoring in the first half. "That's our main focus right here. Obviously, we have to string something together here."

Game notes
Bulls F Drew Gooden missed sat out with a strained left groin for the second time in the past week. He also missed eight games recently with a sprained right ankle. ... Besides Horford and Williams, the Hawks also held out G Acie Law (bruised quadriceps).