Bulls-Hawks Preview

Atlanta Hawks Status Check:
Record: 15-9
Division: 8-2
Conference: 9-4
Home Record: 8-5
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Streak: Lost 2
Last game: 99-80 loss to Sixers
PPG: 96.2 (16th)
Opponents PPG: 94.6 (8th)
Offensive Rating: 103.6 (16th)
Defensive Rating: 102.0 (7th)
Pace: 92.0 (15th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .500 (10th)
Turnover Percentage: .139 (14th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .732 (15th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .248 (24th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .174 (28th)
Opp. eFG%: .485 (13th)
Opp. TO%: .156 (3rd)
Opp. FT/FGA: .188 (5th)
Leading scorer: Josh Smith (16.6)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Hawks Injury Report:
Devin Harris: missed Friday’s game (sprained ankle)

The Bulls played some of their best defense for three quarters and Kirk Hinrich finally remembered that the ball was supposed to go in the basket, as the Bulls handed the Knicks their second loss of the season in Madison Square Garden.

It wasn’t close for nearly the entire game. New York brought it to single digits late in the fourth, and ultimately lost by just four, but the Bulls dominated for the first 36 minutes. The Knicks scored 61 points on 33 percent shooting through the first three quarters. That is great effort. In the fourth though, New York scored 45 points on 60.7 percent shooting. Chicago let a 25 point lead slip into a four-point victory.

The Knicks scored 45 in the fourth after scoring just 38 in the second and third quarters combined.

The Bulls still did a solid job though. They held New York to 30.8 percent from three. The Knicks were shooting 40.4 percent from deep coming into the game. Great defense in the first three quarters turned into apathy in the fourth, but luckily for the Bulls they had enough of a cushion to get the win.

Hinrich finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. That was by far his best game this season. The last time Hinrich finished with at least 16, nine and eight was in 2006 against Minnesota when he recorded 30 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

Luol Deng escaped a scare with an injury, and finished with 29 points and 15 rebounds. Noah put in another good game, with 15 points, 12 rebounds and six assists before getting tossed.

Carmelo Anthony (35 points) and J.R. Smith (26) were leading the way for the Knicks before both had early exits. Smith fouled out in the fourth and Anthony got tossed a little bit later for picking up a second technical. Raymond Felton picked up the slack after those two were reserved to watching, scoring 14 points in the final frame on 6-9 shooting. Chris Copeland also scored ten in the fourth quarter.

As always the bad news was big minutes. The Bulls entered the fourth quarter leading by 22 points, but that didn’t mean Thibs was going to give his starters a rest.

Joakim Noah got ejected from the game just so he could get a breather (I made that up, but it could be true). Jo played “only” 41 minutes by taking himself out of the game with more than four minutes left. Deng played 42 and Marco Belinelli played 45.

Atlanta is coming off a 19-point loss to the struggling Sixers (Philly had lost five straight going into that game). Al Horford went 2-10 from the field for seven points and the Hawks shot 39.2 percent as a team, while allowing Philly to shoot 51.2 percent. They were outscored 40-24 in the paint and 20-11 on fast break points.

The Hawks just didn’t have it last night. Their 80 points was their second lowest total of the season. But they will be a lot more rested than the Bulls. Only one Atlanta player played more than 28 minutes (Horford played 36).

The Bulls are 4-2 on the second night of a back-to-back. The Hawks are 4-1 with no rest.

More stats: Bulls did a great job getting to the line. They went 28-33 from the line (84.8 percent). Belinelli was 11-12 from the charity stripe and Noah was 7-8.

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