CHICAGO (AP) — After another dominating performance, nothing could wipe the smile from Joakim Noah’s face.
Noah had 21 points and 16 rebounds, Carlos Boozer added 15 points and 13 boards, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Philadelphia 76ers 103-78 on Saturday night.
“I haven’t felt healthy like this in a long time. My feet don’t hurt, my body’s feeling good,” Noah said. “I put in a lot of work in the summertime. The third day of camp I got hurt (strained groin). It was an unfortunate setback, but now I’m feeling like it’s all coming together.”
Noah extended his streak of double-digit rebound games to 12, the longest stretch of his career.
The duo’s powerful performance was awfully similar to the teams’ last meeting at the United Center, when Noah posted a triple-double and combined with Boozer for 44 points and 33 rebounds on Feb. 28, 2013.
“You can’t play any better than (Noah is) playing right now, in every aspect of the game,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The defense has been there all season, the rebounding off the charts, but the playmaking, the quick decisions, the multiple effort . it sets the tone for the team.”
Chicago (19-20) has won seven of nine games in 2014. The Bulls led by as many as 36, their largest lead this season.
D.J. Augustin scored nine points and dished out seven assists in the pivotal second quarter, in which Chicago extended its lead from five to 20. He finished with 19 points and eight assists.
Only three 76ers scored in double digits, Thaddeus Young leading the way with 12 points.
James Anderson had 11 points and seven rebounds for Philadelphia (13-27), which has dropped six of seven.
Augustin brought the fans to their feet two minutes into the second when he threaded a cross-court bounce pass to Jimmy Butler, who finished strong with a thunderous slam. Augustin later fed Noah on a two-handed dunk in transition to cap the dominating quarter.
Noah and Augustin combined to make eight of 10 shots in the second period, outscoring Philadelphia 17-12.
Augustin has been a spark since the Bulls signed him on Dec. 13. The 26-year-old is averaging 11.5 points with Chicago and has led the team in assists 11 times. The Bulls are 11-8 with Augustin on the roster, and 7-2 in 2014 — their only two losses coming to the Washington Wizards within the last six days.
“I’m just going out there, playing freely, doing whatever Coach needs me to do, whatever my teammates need me to do,” Augustin said. “Basically, just trying to get them the ball, trying to get them open. At the same time, Coach wanted me to look (to score) for myself.”
The 76ers missed all 11 3-point attempts in the first half and committed 17 total turnovers.
Philadelphia shot 35.1 percent from the floor (10.5 percent from 3-point range) and has turned the ball over 64 times in its last three games.
“(The Bulls) play really good defense,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “In general we struggled finding ways to play freely, to get out in the open court, and the physicality of the game wore us down.”
The Bulls have won nine of their last 10 regular-season games against the 76ers, who rallied from 20 points down on Nov. 2 to halt a five-game skid against Chicago in a 107-104 victory in Philadelphia.
There would be no comeback this time.
Spencer Hawes, who averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds in his last two games against Chicago, was largely ineffective. The 7-foot-1 center had nine points and six rebounds.
Michael Carter-Williams scored 10 points and dished out five assists. He had 26 and 11 in the November meeting.
“That’s how it goes,” Hawes said. “You go through stretches like that, and who knows, the next two or three games maybe we come out and can’t miss. It’s a long season.”
Philadelphia guard Tony Wroten sprained his right ankle in the second quarter when he stepped on Nazr Mohammed’s foot awkwardly, staying on the ground for a couple minutes. He limped off the court gingerly with the help of his teammates and did not return.
Brown couldn’t give a timetable after the game, but said “it looked bad.”
Notes: The Bulls agreed to trade point guard Marquis Teague to the Brooklyn Nets for F Tornike Shengelia, a person with knowledge of the deal said Saturday. Teague was dressed but did not play. “Marquis is a good, young player. He’s had some good moments,” Thibodeau said. “He’s had some moments that he can obviously do better, but that’s to be expected. When you come into this league as young as he is, that’s what you’re going to get. He’s much further along today than he was when he was first drafted.” … Philadelphia F/C Lavoy Allen (left knee) scored six points in 15 minutes, playing for the first time since Jan. 7. He had missed four games.
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