CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Bulls were open all over the floor, so Joakim Noah kept collecting assists. Jumpers for Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich. A dunk for Taj Gibson, another jumper for Butler, and on and on it went.
The All-Star center put on quite a show.
“It’s really all my teammates,” he said. “I think we’re getting better every game.”
Noah also had 13 points and 12 rebounds in his second triple-double of the season, but it was his deft passing that really stood out. It was the most assists by an NBA center since at least the 1985-86 season and a franchise record for his position.
“What can you say? He is playing MVP basketball,” Gibson said. “He is doing everything in all facets of the game.”
Chicago had seven players score in double figures and set a franchise record by committing only three turnovers in its ninth win in the last 10 games. The Bulls also reached 100 points for the fourth consecutive game for the first time since Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2010.
D.J. Augustin had 21 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as Chicago (33-26) improved to 21-8 since Jan. 1 and a season-high seven games above .500 overall. Butler scored 19 points and Carlos Boozer had 14.
“We’ve hit a stretch where we have guys that are healthy playing that I think they know what to expect from each other,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I think they’re playing to their strengths.”
“It’s embarrassing,” Anthony said. “It’s frustrating and it’s embarrassing.”
Swingman Iman Shumpert had three points on 1-for-6 shooting in his return to the lineup. He missed five games after he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during New York’s 98-91 victory over New Orleans on Feb. 19.
Noah rolled his right ankle at the beginning of the second half and got it re-taped before coming back in at the start of the fourth quarter. He heard more chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” when he went 1 for 2 at the line to make it 89-70 with 9:26 to go.
There were more loud cheers when Jimmer Fredette checked in with 3:08 left after joining the Bulls earlier in the day. The sharp-shooting guard drilled a long jumper on his first shot, making it 107-83 with 2:16 remaining.