The Bulls played host to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, again without star defensive threat Joakim Noah. Derrick Rose scored a game-high 22 points, while All-Star starter Pau Gasol added 12 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Bulls past the Spurs 104-81.
The Bulls snapped the Spurs' 4-game win streak, pulling away in the 3rd quarter when they outscored San Antonio 31-20. Rose shot 9 of 16 on the night and only played 45 seconds in the 4th quarter due to some stiffness.
Gasol was voted to his 5th All-Star game earlier in the day, and 1st as a starter.
Jimmy Butler had 17 points on just 9 shots, Taj Gibson added 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks, and Aaron Brooks contributed 15. The Bulls also snap a 3-game home losing streak with the win.
Chicago moved on to the road to visit the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, receiving more good news with the return of Noah. Rose and Butler each scored 20 to lead Chicago to a 102-98 win over Dallas. Butler scored 14 of his 20 in the 2nd half, as the Bulls were able to hold off a 24-point night from Dirk Nowitzki.
Chicago outrebounded the Mavs 47-30 on this night. Gasol had another double-double of 13 points and 16 rebounds, while Noah had 6 points and 7 rebounds in his return. Noah had missed the previoius 4 games with a sprained ankle. Rose had 13 1st-quarter points to get Chicago out to an early 10-point lead, but Dallas pulled within 3 by halftime, keeping it close the rest of the way.
The Bulls remain in 1st place in the Central Division with a 29-16 record, and will return home tomorrow afternoon to host the Miami Heat.