Posted February 02, 2013 on AP on Fox
When Chicago and Atlanta met three weeks ago, the Bulls put together one of the best defensive performances in franchise history. Duplicating that showing could be difficult. Possibly playing short-handed for a second straight day, the Bulls try to bounce back from a tough loss when they visit the Hawks on Saturday night. Chicago (28-18) used only eight players for Friday's game in Brooklyn as All-Star Joakim Noah (foot) and fellow starters Carlos Boozer (hamstring) and Kirk Hinrich (right elbow) were sidelined. The Bulls, however, have played the entire season without Derrick Rose and have been giving opponents fits. Friday's game was no different, as the Central Division leaders led 67-63 through three quarters before seeming to tire down the stretch in a 93-89 loss, just their third defeat in 11 games. "This is good for our team," Taj Gibson said. "It's all for the better come playoff time when we get everybody back and we're fully healthy, we feel like we've got a shot of winning the East.'' While Boozer missed his second straight game and his status for Saturday is uncertain, Hinrich will almost certainly be out since he returned to Chicago and Noah didn't sound too optimistic about returning. "I know it's hard to come back from, but I'm on it a lot earlier than I was last time,'' said Noah, who missed 18 games with plantar fasciitis during the 2009-10 season. The absence of Noah and Boozer, two of the league's top rebounders at 11.3 and 9.7 per game, respectively, was evident as Brooklyn outrebounded Chicago 40-29. It was the Bulls' fewest boards since grabbing 21 against Orlando on Dec. 1, 2010. With a thin bench, Gibson (16 points) played all 48 minutes, Luol Deng (18 points) played all but four seconds and Nate Robinson (12 points, 11 assists) played 41. While Deng averages an NBA-high 40 minutes, Gibson averages 21 and Robinson is at 22. This seems like it could spell trouble against a Hawks team that should be well rested having been off since Wednesday's 93-92 victory over Toronto. Al Horford had the go-ahead dunk with 21 seconds remaining and blocked two shots in the closing seconds to help Atlanta (26-19) win for the fourth time in five games. Horford finished with 22 points, Josh Smith scored 20 and former Bull Kyle Korver added 17 while making five 3-pointers. Atlanta is 14-4 when Korver scores at least 13, compared to 9-13 when he doesn't. While getting scoring from Korver is valuable, the offense goes through Horford and Smith - and both are playing well. Horford is averaging 22.5 points on 63.8 percent shooting in his last four games and Smith is averaging 21.8 in his last four - 5.0 better than his team-leading average. Not surprisingly, the Hawks, who average 96.7 points on the season, are at 105.6 in their last five games. They were nowhere near as productive offensively in Chicago on Jan. 14. The Bulls won 97-58 while holding the Hawks to a franchise-low 20 first-half points - five in the second quarter - and also set a club record for fewest points allowed in a game while limiting Atlanta to 29.3 percent shooting. Reserve forward Mike Scott led Atlanta with 10 points as none of the starters reached double figures. Jeff Teague's layup with 7.9 seconds left prevented the Hawks from the lowest-scoring total in franchise history. The last meeting in Atlanta was a different story, however, as the Hawks cruised to a 92-75 victory on Dec. 22. They outscored the Bulls 36-16 in the second quarter and Deng (11 points) and Noah (10) were the only two Chicago players in double figures. The Bulls have still won six of the last eight regular-season meetings.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Video: Nate Robinson dunks on the Bucks, Stacey King goes crazy

Former Celtic and NBA Dunk Contest champ Nate Robinson had a pretty sweet dunk during last night's Bulls-Bucks game. Stacey King (who played 5 games for the C's), was doing commentary on the game and goes nuts after Nate's dunk, mentioning that he has been waiting for little Nate Robinson to dunk this year. I would love to see Nate Robinson in the dunk contest this year...

Bulls G Hinrich to have right elbow examined

Guard Kirk Hinrich has returned to Chicago to have his right elbow examined, and the Bulls also played without center Joakim Noah and forward Carlos Boozer when they faced the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night. Hinrich has been hampered by injuries for much of the season. He is averaging 7.0 points in 40 games. He started Chicago's 104-88 victory at Milwaukee on Wednesday and finished...

British basketball earns Olympic funding reprieve

The plea from Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng to British Prime Minister David Cameron has worked: Funding will be restored to the country's Olympic basketball program. Britain's men's and women's basketball squads were told in December they'd receive no funding for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. UK Sport distributes the money and on Friday said basketball...

Bulls' Hinrich to miss game with elbow injury

Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich has returned to Chicago to have his right elbow examined, and he will not play in the Bulls' game against Brooklyn on Friday, the team announced. He will be evaluated by Bulls head team physician Dr. Brian Cole. Hinrich's status will be determined after that examination. Hinrich has started all 40 games in which he has played this season...

Is Josh Smith worth max deal to Atlanta?

ATLANTA Nineteen days. Its a span that will decide if Josh Smith plays the remainder of this season in a Hawks uniform or someone else's. Its Smith's No. 5 that's the dominant jersey on the backs of those in the Philips Arena seats and the face of the College Park, Ga. native along with Lou Williams of Snellville that appears on a billboard in metro Atlanta proclaiming...

Joakim Noah Out With Plantar Fasciitis In Right Foot

Joakim Noah was sidelined Friday night in Brooklyn due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot and has no timetable on a return: According to Nick Friedell, ESPN Chicago: Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah missed Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, and is unsure when he will return to the lineup. Noah dealt with the condition...

Taj Gibson double-doubles with 19 points and 19 boards with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer out

The Chicago Bulls were without Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich, but they didn't miss them. Three Bulls double-doubled in a 93-76 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Taj Gibson was huge with 19 points and 19 boards. Gibson also added two assists, a steal and three blocks in 45 minutes. Jimmy Butler started, scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds with two assists, three...

Hawks Sign Guard Jannero Pargo To Second 10-Day Contract

The Atlanta Hawks, who recently lost guard Lou Williams to a torn ACL, will try to fill the void  by signing guard Jannero Pargo to a second 10-day contract. Pargo has averaged 5.2 points and 2.6 assists in 5 games with the Hawks this season including an impressive 16-point, 4-assist performance in his debut for Atlanta. According to NBA: The Atlanta Hawks have signed veteran guard...

Hawks sign Pargo to second 10-day deal

The Atlanta Hawks announced Saturday that they signed veteran guard Jannero Pargo to a second 10-day contract. Pargo averaged 5.2 points, 2.6 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 16.0 minutes in five games under his first 10-day contract. He played in seven games for the Washington Wizards earlier this season, averaging 3.0 points and 2.0 assists in 14.6 minutes. Over his career, which...

Hawks struggle against short-handed Bulls

ATLANTA (AP) -- Luol Deng had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and the short-handed Chicago Bulls used their stifling defense to shut down the Atlanta Hawks in a 93-76 victory on Saturday night. Playing without injured starters Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, Chicago dominated near the basket and got a lift from the frenetic play of Nate Robinson. The Bulls used only eight...

Nick Van Excel’s Son Convicted Of Murder

Nickey Van Excel is the son of former NBA player, Nick Van Excel. Nick is currently working in the D-League as an instructor for the Atlanta Hawks. The grim story goes like this, Nickey states that he and his childhood friend were horse playing with a shotgun and it then went off. The blast killed his friend, Bradley Eyo. Nickey panicked and wrapped up Eyo’s body, put it in a trunk...

Suns pursuing Josh Smith?

With Rudy Gay now off the trade market, NBA trade rumors will latch onto a new player. That player appears to be Josh Smith. And it did not take long for something to coalesce in the rumor mill. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld reports the Suns have initiated preliminary discussions with the Hawks for Josh Smith. And, he reports, if Phoenix does not get Smith they would plan on pursuing...

Shootaround: Still playing hard

Chicago Bulls (28-18) vs. Atlanta Hawks (26-19) 7 p.m. The Bulls are masters of surviving injuries. At least for this year. Chicago is playing without Derrick Rose and in the thick of the Eastern Conference race. The Bulls went even further last night, losing by four on the road to the Nets with three starters -- Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Derrick Rose -- out. Luol...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.