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Hawks outshoot Bulls at the United Center

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By Sam Smith | 1.17.2015 | 9:19 p.m. CT

The Bulls Saturday failed to halt the NBA’s latest immoveable force that has become the Atlanta Hawks, who defeated the Bulls 107-99.

The Bulls rallied back in the fourth quarter behind Derrick Rose from a 15-point third quarter deficit to get within five points twice. But the Hawks’ relentless and exceptional play always had an answer. It was Atlanta’s 26th win in their last 28 games and 12th in a row to go to 33-8. It was the Hawks’ fourth game in five days on the road. The Bulls fell to 27-15.

The Bulls were led by Rose with 23 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds and Pau Gasol with 22 points and 15 rebounds. The Hawks got 24 points from former Bull Kyle Korver with seven of nine three pointers and 22 points and nine rebounds from Al Horford.

The Bulls had another poor shooting start, 26.3 percent in the first quarter as they fell behind 24-16. The Bulls were inaccurate and unsteady with seven first quarter turnovers against the aggressive Atlanta defense. The Hawks extended that margin to 34-20 early in the second quarter and would go into the half trailing 48-39 as Korver was four of four on three pointers. The Bulls got a pair of three pointers from Rose early in the third quarter, but the Hawks matched that working to Al Horford and raced out ahead by 15 as Korver made his sixth consecutive three pointer. Rose answered with another pair of threes and the Bulls got within 76-67 going into the fourth quarter.

Observations:

1. It seems fairly simple with the Hawks, though subtle. They’re good because they try hard. Sure, everyone does, but how do you measure hard? The Hawks cut and screen aggressively; they relentlessly cut through their offense and help on defense and play basically two units of players with frequent substitutions.

2. Kyle Korver should be an All-Star given the igniter he is for the Hawks with his three-point shooting. Unlike at other stops, including with the Bulls, the Hawks search out Korver in transition and in different places on the court to keep the opposition guessing.

3. Derrick Rose had another terrific game and near triple double after a slow start with three first half points. Rose third quarter shooting and fourth quarter attacking almost stole the game for the Bulls. He’s playing better than anyone on the team this month.