Bulls-Hawks Preview

Atlanta Hawks Status Check:
Record: 19-12
Division: 5-2
Conference: 15-6
Road Record: 10-7
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Streak: Lost 1
Last game: 97-77 loss to Portland
PPG: 94.5 (17th)
Opponents PPG: 91.9 (7th)
Offensive Rating: 103.3 (13th)
Defensive Rating: 100.4 (9th)
Pace: 89.7 (24th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .489 (11th)
Turnover Percentage: .131 (3rd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .745 (10th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .240 (26th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .190 (24th)
Opp. eFG%: .476 (12th)
Opp. TO%:  .147 (10th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .177 (5th)
Leading scorer: Joe Johnson (17.7)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Hawks Injury Report:
Jason Collins: expected to miss 3-4 weeks
Al Horford: expected to miss 3-4 months

Coming off their ugliest loss of the season, the Bulls have to prove the doubters that they can win without Rose…again.

It doesn’t matter that they are a solid 7-3 without Rose, 25-8 overall and have the third best record in the league. The Bulls got laughed off the court and have something to fight for again. Losing to a good team without Rose is understandable, but the Nets were last in defense and they aren’t an offensive powerhouse either.

The Bulls always come back strong from losses though, and I don’t expect this to be any different. Chicago has won 12 in a row following losses.

The loss against New Jersey actually reminded me a little of the loss to Atlanta last season. Chicago went up 14-0 in that game, and later led by 19, only to let Atlanta come back and win 83-80.

Obviously the Bulls weren’t up big against the Nets; in fact it was the other way around. But the loss to Atlanta last season and the loss to New Jersey both stung. After the Bulls loss to Atlanta, they came back with a win over the Magic.

The Bulls and Hawks have split their two previous match-ups this season, both winning at home.

The Bulls needed Rose to score 17 of his 30 points in the fourth to come back and win the first game against Atlanta. The Bulls climbed out of their own 19 point deficit and ran a nifty play for Luol Deng to go up with 3.7 seconds left.

Deng scored 21 points and added eight assists, while Boozer had 11 points and nine rebounds. Those two, along with Rose, were the only Bulls that scored more than four points. Chicago shot 33.8 percent from the field, but toughed out a hard fought win.

Josh Smith recorded 15 points and 14 rebounds, Al Horford, who will miss today’s game, led the Hawks with 16 points. Jeff Teague (seven points) was the only Atlanta starter not in double figures.

The Hawks got their revenge four days later, beating the Bulls by 15. After going off for 30 in game one of the series, Rose was help to eight points on 3-10 shooting. He also recorded a -33 plus/minus. The only starter in double figures for the Bulls was Boozer, with 12 points.

But it was the bench that got big minutes. John Lucas scored 16 points, Kyle Korver scored 13, Jimmy Butler scored 12 and Taj Gibson added eleven.

Once again, only one Hawks starter didn’t get to double figures, this time is was Marvin Williams (three points). Smith led the way with 25 points, Johnson had 17, Horford added 14 and Teague outscored Rose with 12. Vladimir Radmanovic came off the bench, hit 5 three-pointers, and ended up with 17 points.

Atlanta shot 56.6 percent from the field, 75 percent from three and hit all six of their free throws. The Bulls had a 17-4 offensive rebounding margin, but even that wasn’t enough to crawl back in the game.

So that should be two bad tastes in the Bulls’ mouths: the Nets loss and their loss to Atlanta the last time out.

Rose was a difference maker in the first two games. He was the reason the Bulls won the first game, and a big reason why they lost the second (as the star of a team normally is). But Rose is once again a game-time decision, according to Nick Friedell.

Thibodeau said Rose is “coming along. We’ll see how he is (Monday)…He took on contact today so I want to see how he is, how he feels after the contact.”

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