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Rose scores 23, Bulls hang on to beat Hawks 90-79

Derrick Rose scored 23 points in his return from back pain, and the Chicago Bulls beat the struggling Atlanta Hawks 90-79 on Monday.

Rose looked sharp after missing the previous five games, and the Bulls played more like championship contenders after a brutal loss to New Jersey two days earlier. They led by 18 through the first quarter and were up 55-37 at halftime, but found themselves hanging on in the end after a big push by Atlanta.

The Bulls were clinging to an 85-79 lead after a late 3-pointer by Jannero Pargo when Luol Deng nailed a 3 of his own to make it a nine-point game. Rose then buried a turnaround jumper to make it 90-79 with 2:10 remaining and Chicago prevailed, sending Atlanta to its seventh loss in 10 games.

Rose also had six assists and five rebounds. Carlos Boozer added 16 points, Ronnie Brewer had 13, and Deng and John Lucas 10 apiece. Joakim Noah chipped in with 17 rebounds.

Pargo provided a big spark off the bench for Atlanta with a season-high 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers. Josh Smith added 17 points and 12 rebounds.