After having games of eight, five and 11 points in the last three contests, Deng broke out for a game-high 11 points in the first half Tuesday and helped to give the Bulls a 35-26 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers at halftime.
The Bulls closed the quarter on a 10-2 run to give them some breathing room.
While Deng was a bright spot, Carlos Boozer and Richard Hamilton were nonexistent offensively for most of the first half for the Bulls. Boozer was 2-of-7 from the field and scored five points. Hamilton was 2-of-7 and had four points.
After an ugly first quarter, the game didn’t get a whole lot better in the second frame. The teams scored a combined 28 points in the second quarter. The Bulls were 16-of-41 from the field with seven turnovers in the first half, and the 76ers were 12-of-42 with eight turnovers.
John Lucas III gave the Bulls a bit of a spark off the bench and scored five points in the second quarter. He drained a 3-pointer with 3:31 left in the half to give the Bulls a 31-24 lead.
Taj Gibson did give the packed United Center crowd a reason to get excited in the second quarter with back-to-back highlight plays. On the defensive end, Gibson rejected Thaddeus Young as he went up for a baseline dunk. At the other end, Gibson threw down a monstrous two-handed dunk.
Gibson had two points, three rebounds, one assist and four blocks in the first half.
The crowd also was ignited when 76ers forward Elton Brand and Gibson dove for a loose ball and began wrestling for it on the ground. Players from both teams raced to the scene, and Brand and Gibson each ended up with technical.
Lavoy Allen led the 76ers with six points off the bench in the first half.