Bulls-Hawks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 02, 2013
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker