"Since I've been in Chicago, I've been impressed with Jo," said Salmons, who joined the Bulls in a trade last February. "He's been one of those glue guys, one of those guys that works hard."
The Bulls had a 16-0 run in the third and fourth quarters that turned a nine-point deficit into a seven-point lead at 77-70. They hung on despite some shaky foul shooting, with Charlotte's Flip Murray missing two 3-pointers from the top of the key in the closing seconds.
Boris Diaw led Charlotte with 20 points, but the Bobcats were outrebounded for the first time this season, 44-38. Besides watching his team give away a nine-point lead, coach Larry Brown made it clear he didn't like what he saw from the officials, either.
"Boris went in for a layup, Gerald [Wallace] went in for a layup, we didn't get anything out of that," said Brown, who along with the organization was fined $60,000 after he lashed out at the replacement referees in the preseason.
"Flip went in for a layup, we didn't get anything out of that. We couldn't get into the bonus. It was hard. We were driving the ball and we were trying to get to the free-throw line. We had a hard time doing that."
With Chicago up 92-87 with a minute left, the Bulls' Luol Deng missed two free throws, and the Bobcats' Tyson Chandler converted two to make it 92-90 with 21 seconds left. Salmons had a chance to make it a four-point game, but made just one of two free throws with 19.8 seconds left. However, the Bobcats couldn't take advantage.
After a timeout, Murray missed a 3 from the top of the key but had a chance to redeem himself after Diaw grabbed the rebound. Instead, the second one hit the rim and a sprawled out Wallace knocked the ball out of bounds along the sideline with 3.3 seconds left, giving the Bulls the victory.
Salmons hit 9 of 16 shots, including two 3-pointers. Noah, meanwhile, shot 10 of 12 and reached double figures in rebounds for the fifth time while registering his third double-double this season for the short-handed Bulls.
Chicago has just 10 healthy players now that Tyrus Thomas is expected to miss four to six weeks with a broken left forearm. He had surgery Saturday after injuring it a day earlier in a weight-training session.
Even so, the Bulls got enough to get by on Saturday, particularly from Noah. Now in his third year, he's showing some post moves he didn't have in the past, such as a hook shot, and some more maturity after having conflicts with former assistant Ron Adams and ex-Bull Ben Wallace as a rookie.
"I know I'm not going to score 21 points every night," Noah said. "I think that I want to see consistently is my rebounding and my defensive effort. I feel like offensively, I'm just going to try to clean up the glass."
The Bulls were down 70-61 late in the third when Salmons converted a layup on a 2-on-1 to start the go-ahead run. Hinrich buried a 3-pointer, a layup and a free throw to pull Chicago within one with 1:32 left, and Noah ended the quarter with a hook shot and tip-in to make it 73-70.
"We weren't playing the right way," Diaw said. "We had no movement. We were sloppy."
- With Thomas is out, coach Vinny Del Negro said the Bulls are discussing whether to bring in another player. His injury could also create an opportunity for rookie James Johnson.
- Considering he was averaging 5.5 rebounds for his career entering the game, Wallace is as surprised as anyone that he's leading the league. "When you can't make a layup, you've got to find some way to help the team," said Wallace, who came into the game shooting just 30.9 percent.
- Bobcats F Derrick Brown and C DeSagana Diop were inactive.