CHICAGO — Jimmy Butler capped his 33-point performance by making two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining as the Chicago Bulls won their third straight game with a 106-104 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
Butler scored 25 points in the second half and Chicago’s final nine points of the contest. Rajon Rondo had 25 points, Denzel Valentine added 13 and Paul Zipser had 10 for the Bulls (37-39).
With the win, Chicago drew even with the idle Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Dennis Schroder scored 29 points for the Hawks (39-37), who nearly pulled out the victory when Tim Hardaway, Jr. — who scored 20 points — narrowly missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Dwight Howard and Ersan Ilyasova each scored 13 points for Atlanta, which had its two-game win streak snapped.
Schroder drilled a midrange drummer to give the Hawks a 104-102 lead with 35.8 seconds only to have Butler answer on Chicago’s ensuing possession. Butler’s 3-point field goal with 1:59 remaining tied the game at 102 after the Bulls had trailed by as many as 10 points earlier in the quarter.
Jose Calderon provided the Hawks with their biggest lead at 89-79 early in the fourth quarter. A Nikola Mirotic 3-pointer got the Bulls to within 93-88 with 6:35 remaining, but Ilyasova answered again extend the Hawks’ advantage.
The Hawks carried an 84-79 lead into the fourth after Kent Bazemore beat the buzzer with a 37-foot jumper. Atlanta erased a 10-point deficit in the third quarter and took a 70-69 lead on a Schroder free throw with 3:45 remaining.
NOTES: Hawks F Paul Millsap (left knee swelling) responded well to practicing well on Friday and continues to make positive progress. Coach Mike Budenholzer said Millsap went through individual work on Saturday and could be ready to return soon. “Each day, you just make sure they’re reacting and recovering in a good way,” Budenholzer said. … G/F Thabo Sefolosha (right groin strain) missed his fourth straight game. … G/F Mike Dunleavy returned after missing a game with an ankle injury. …. Bulls F Cristiano Felicio was available for the second straight game but was still experiencing some soreness in recent days. Felicio hasn’t played since March 21. … Former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 2017 class, the club announced Saturday. Krause, who served as GM between 1985-2003, died March 21 at the age of 77. … G Cameron Payne was inactive.