Luol Deng scored 22 points, Richard Hamilton added 19 and the Chicago Bulls held off a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Dallas Mavericks 93-83 on Saturday night.
The victory by the Bulls (48-16) gave them a 2 1-2 game lead over Miami for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Chicago has two regular-season games left, against Indiana and Cleveland.
Bulls star guard Derrick Rose returned to the lineup after sitting out three games with a right foot/ankle injury and he had 11 points with eight assists in 32 minutes.
Defending NBA champion Dallas, which clinched a playoff berth on Thursday night when Houston lost, was playing the second game of a back-to-back, so veteran guards Jason Kidd and Jason Terry sat out to rest.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 points and Rodrigue Beaubois, starting in place of Kidd, added 16 — 10 in the final quarter.
Deng's 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer capped an 11-0 run and gave the Bulls a 66-56 lead. But Dallas rallied as Vince Carter had nine points and Brandan Wright's follow-up basket cut the lead to 75-72 with just under 6 minutes remaining.
Joakim Noah and Rose scored for the Bulls before Kyle Korver hit his third 3-pointer of the game to restore the lead to nine points. Deng then hit a 3-pointer from the corner with just under 2 minutes left and Chicago had a 90-79 lead.
Nowitzki's eight second-quarter points helped the Mavs close a 13-point deficit down to six by halftime.
Hamilton had 10 points and Carlos Boozer eight as Chicago opened a 21-8 lead after one quarter — the Mavericks' lowest scoring quarter of the season.