PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 08: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks walks off the court after being defeated by the Phoenix Suns in the NBA game at US Airways Center on March 8, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Mavericks 96-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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.