CHICAGO -- Jason Terry made it look easy once he got the pass from Shareef Abdur-Rahim, driving right around the Chicago Bulls defense for the most rare of game-winning shots - a dunk.
"It was drawn up for Shareef to take them off the top. My man helped and I back cut and Shareef hit me in stride with a perfect pass," Terry said after his dunk with 7.3 seconds left Saturday night gave the Atlanta Hawks an 80-79 win, their third straight.
"The defense couldn't adjust," Terry added. "I knew once I got to the basket the one thing to do was go up strong. It's the first time I can remember having a winning shot by a dunk."
Ron Mercer, whose hanging jumper with 11 seconds left gave the Bulls a 79-78 lead, had a chance to win the game. But he missed a 16-foot jumper from the right side in the closing seconds and Marcus Fizer's follow just before the buzzer went over the rim.
"We still had a chance to win and we should have," Mercer said. "We've won games on those jump shots. Tonight was not the night."
After Mercer's basket put the Bulls ahead by one, Atlanta took a timeout. Terry got the pass from Abdur-Rahim and went around Greg Anthony and Fizer with no one helping on the weak side.
"It was kind of a shock that he could get to the basket," Bulls coach Tim Floyd said.
"We were in help defense. The play is to try to make him make another pass. We were not in position. We weren't aware of where the ball was and he got an unconstested," Anthony said. "That's painful, the most disappointing part."
Abdur-Rahim led the Hawks with 20 points. Terry and Nazr Mohammed each added 16 points.
Mercer paced the Bulls, who shot just 32 percent, with 15 points, and Brad Miller added 14 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out late.
Trenton Hassell's 3-pointer with 1:45 left lifted Chicago into to a 75-all tie after the Bulls had trailed by as many as seven in the final quarter.
Fizer powered in a basket to give Chicago the lead before Abdur-Rahim tied it at 77 with a short jumper with 58.4 seconds remaining.
Miller missed a layup and then fouled out on the rebound, sending Abdur-Rahim to the line where he shot 1-for-2 for a 78-77 lead with 31.3 seconds left.
Chicago's A.J. Guyton hit a pair of 3-pointers to tie the game at 65 as the Bulls broke an eight-minute drought without a basket.
But ex-Bull Toni Kukoc, who'd struggled with his shot all night, was awarded a basket when rookie Tyson Chandler swatted his bank shot off the glass. Kukoc then drove and fed Mohammed for a dunk before hitting a 3-pointer in a key 7-0 run that made it 72-65.
After leading by as many as eight in the second quarter, the Bulls held on for a 41-40 advantage at the half. Abdur-Rahim, bothered by a sore tailbone, scored 14 points.
Notes: The game matched the NBA's lowest scoring team in the Bulls (83.4 ppg before Saturday) and the one that yields the most points in the Hawks (99.6). ... Bulls F Eddie Robinson, out most of the season with a toe injury, had an injection on Monday and could decide next week if surgery is needed. ... Atlanta coach Lon Kruger, formerly with Illinois, is now 3-2 against the Bulls. ... Kukoc, who missed six of his first seven shots, was 5-of-15 and had 12 points. ... Anthony had 12 assists.