The Bulls set off to Atlanta for the 3rd game on a 5 game road trip. The Bulls are on a 3 game win streak, and playing Atlanta for the first time this season.
Atlanta’s emotional leader, Josh Smith, was out with an injury to his right knee. Ironically Kirk Hinrich was starting for Atlanta after a a trade last week with Washington. Kirk Hinrich, former Bulls team captain, was the Bulls old emotional leader on the floor for many years. If Hinrich remains healthy, he will have faced the Bulls 5 times total in 2011.
Atlanta Hawk fans have a tradition of staying stood until the Hawks first score. A good way to show the team your support, unless the Bulls hold you scoreless until the 7:13 mark. The Bulls started the game on a 14-0 run. With solid efforts from every Bull, Chicago closed out the 1st with a 28-19 lead.
The Hawks returned the favor a bit in the 2nd quarter, holding the Bulls to scoring only 2 points in the fist 6 minutes. The Bulls defense didn’t hold up, allowing the Hawks to score only 4 points in the same stretch of time.
A fight almost broke out after Carlos Boozer hooked Al Horford hard to prevent an easy basket. While on the ground, Horford retaliated with a front horse kick into the air which brought both team’s players to the defense. Nothing more happened, and Boozer was charged with a foul. Nothing looked deliberate and Horford’s kick clearly looked like a warning more than an attack. The NBA may review the action for further penalty.
The Bulls finished the half after a wonderful defensive display, leading 50-33
Omer Asik picked up steam at the end of the 3rd and to start the 4th quarter. He took back momentum off the glass from Atlanta and was able to give Boozer and Noah a quality break on defense. Omer finished up with 9 boards and 2 blocks in only 14 minutes of play.
Unfortunately the offensive tempo for the Bulls disapeared, and forced the remainder of the game to be a full on defensive matchup. Horford was able to capitalize on Atlanta’s inside-outside game and made key plays to give Atlanta the lead. After a desperate effort to tie the game in regulation, Rose missed a 3, rebounded by Noah and passed out to an open Korver who missed the final 3. The Atlanta Hawks steal this one 83-80
Carlos was nullified by the Hawks for the final 3 quarters. Which left the Bulls with two less weapons because Derrick Rose had a terrible shooting game. Only hitting 5 of 21 from the field. He banged knees with Horford early in the 2nd quarter, and never fully regained a rhythm. Rose finished with 12 points, 12 assists and 5 rebounds.
Noah ended with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Bulls travel to Orlando to play the 4th seed Magic on Friday.