Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Aaron Brooks tallied a game-high 23 points off the bench as the Chicago Bulls slipped by the Atlanta Hawks 91-85 in the regular-season finale for both clubs at the United Center.
With the victory, the Bulls sealed up the third spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs and will open up the postseason at home against the Bucks on Saturday.
"It should be a fun series," Chicago star Derrick Rose said. "They are going to push us to play hard."
Jimmy Butler hit for 21 points, Paul Gasol had 18 points and 13 rebounds for his 54th double-double of the campaign, while Nikola Mirotic scored 11 points in a reserve role for the Bulls (50-32) in their fourth straight win.
Rose, who did not play in the second half, accounted for just two points on 1-of-3 shooting.
Atlanta (60-22), which had already sewn up the top spot in the conference, was led by Dennis Schroder's 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field in less than 17 minutes of action. Al Horford added 14 points, while DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague had 10 apiece.
"I thought we were getting a lot of good opportunities," Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer said.
The Bulls were held scoreless for more than three minutes to start the game and found themselves behind by a 16-4 margin after Paul Millsap logged one of his two made field goals on the night for the visitors.
Trailing by five after one quarter of action, Chicago showed fight in the second period as it traded the lead six times, even as it turned the ball over seven times. The Hawks closed the first half on a 7-2 run in order to claim a 49-42 advantage at the break.
While the third quarter belonged to the visitors, the Bulls managed to not only tie the score at 77-77 in the fourth, but in fact take the lead and establish their larger advantage of the night down the stretch by holding Atlanta scoreless over the final three minutes.
The Bulls, who suffered 21 turnovers, won the rebounding battle by a 50-42 margin and outscored the Hawks at the free-throw line, 22-5.
Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau was assessed a technical foul late in the first quarter...Taj Gibson, who was held scoreless in 20 minutes of play, was hit with a technical early in the third...The game featured two ties and seven lead changes...The Hawks led by as many as 18 despite shooting only 27.6 percent behind the 3-point line.