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.