Notebook: Bulls 93, Hawks 76



Posted Feb 2, 2013 10:38 PM

Matt Winkeljohn, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The injury-riddled Bulls played small ball to great effect Saturday when Luol Deng had 25 points and a season-high 14 rebounds in a 93-76 win over the host Hawks.

Chicago (29-18) was without starting point guard Kirk Hinrich (right elbow), center Joakim Noah (right foot) and power forward Carlos Boozer (right hamstring), but all of their subs were spectacular.

Taj Gibson, one night after playing all 48 minutes at forward in a tough loss in Brooklyn, had 19 points and a career-high 19 rebounds at center. New to the lineup, Jimmy Butler was good for 16 points and 10 rebounds at forward.

Nate Robinson had 20 points, eight assists at three steals at point guard. He scored 12 points in the third quarter, when Chicago began the period with an 11-2 run after Atlanta led 44-43 at the half.

Deng (45:45), Butler (45:37), Gibson (45:13) and Robinson (40.37) all played at least 40 minutes for the second night in a row. Deng tied his season high with four steals, Butler tied his season high with three, and Robinson added three thefts as well.

When the Bulls beat the Hawks 97-58 in Chicago on Jan. 14, Atlanta (26-20) barely missed a franchise low for points. Saturday, they scored just 32 points after halftime.

Atlanta's Josh Smith had 19 points and 13 rebounds, but scored just three in the second half.

QUOTABLE: "The effort tonight just symbolizes how we play . . . I'm exhausted, but I kept just wanting to play. [Friday] night I kind of ran out of gas, but I didn't want that to happen tonight."
-- Gibson.

THE STAT: +11 -- The Bulls outrebounded the Hawks 29-18 in the second half, when they outscored Atlanta 50-32. Gibson had 13 caroms in the secnd half.

TURNING POINT: The Bulls wrestled the game away in the first 3:24 of the third quarter with an 11-2 run. The Hawks missed their first four shots of the half and had a turnover mixed in. The Bulls outrebounded Atlanta 5-0 in that stretch.

QUOTABLE II: "You have to give the Bulls credit. They played last night. They just imposed their will on us. They threw us off with four guards. They had a lot of movement. They were by far the more aggressive team."
-- Hawks center Al Horford.

HOT: Gibson had eight points, 13 rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists while playing all 24 minutes of the second half. . . . Kyle Korver shot 3-for-5 on three pointers, and has now made at least one in 40 consecutive games -- two games short of Mookie Blaylock's franchise record. . . . Butler's playing time has increased dramatically over the past nine games, and he's making use of it. His scoring average is up to 7.2 points per game after he scored in double digits in eight of those games. He's averaged 15.2 in that stretch.

NOT: Ivan Johnson had eight points and nine rebounds off the bench for Atlanta, but the rest of the Hawks' reserves combined for just seven points and four rebounds in a combined 54:27. Jannero Pargo -- signed Saturday to his second 10-day contract -- was 0-for-6.

GOOD MOVE: Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau's decision to go small with injuries to Boozer and Noah worked. Gibson (6-9) and Butler (6-7) sure didn't play as if undersized. Nazr Mohammed (6-10) started at center for the Bulls Friday at Brooklyn, but did not play Saturday. Vladimir Radmanovic (6-10) played just 5:02 off the bench.

BAD MOVE: With Devin Harris' nagging right foot sore enough to keep him out of action for Atlanta, Hawks coach Larry Drew opted to move Korver down from small forward to Harris' shooting guard spot, and start DeShawn Stevenson at small forward. Korver struggled defensively with quicker players, and Stevenson -- who has been bothered most of the season by balky knees -- scored two points with one rebound in 17:30. He shot 1-for-6.

ROOKIE REPORT: Atlanta guard/forward John Jenkins has seen his playing time ramp up beginning with the recent season-ending knee injury to Lou Williams and because of the absence of Anthony Morrow. With Harris unavailable, he played 22:35 Saturday and managed five points on 2-for-3 shooting with two assists. Jenkins is a shooter, but predictably deficient on defense.

NOTABLE: Drew said Harris is, "day-to-day." . . . Boozer (hamstring) warmed up before the game, but the Bulls opted to hold him out for the third straight contest. . . . Hinrich has returned to Chicago to have his elbow examined. He cut it earlier this season, and has had pain recently. . . . Morrow played three-plus minutes at the wing after missing 18 games with back and hip problems, but missed all three shots in that span. . . . If the season ended today, these teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs.

UP NEXT: For the Bulls, Monday @ Indiana, Thursday @ Denver, Friday @ Utah. For the Hawks, Tuesday @ Indiana, Wednesday vs. Memphis, Friday vs. New Orleans.