The Bulls jumped out to a big lead and throttled the Hawks, due in most part to their domination on the boards. Six Bulls scored in double figures, led by Taj Gibson’s 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists on 12-19 shooting. Joakim Noah had the more impressive line with 19 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists, and 3 blocks, his fourth career triple double. Noah shot 8-15 from the floor. Jimmy Butler chipped in with 12 points and 13 rebounds (5 offensive), Mike Dunleavy had 15 points, DJ Augustin had 13, and Kirk Hinrich had 10 points and 6 assists for the Bulls, who brought one of the most well-rounded and dominant performances of the season to bear on a hapless Hawks squad, who found themselves down 33-17 after the first quarter. Not only did Chicago win the rebounding battle 57-28, but they had 17 offensive rebounds to 23 defensive rebounds for Atlanta, a truly dominant margin that will win most games. Throw in the fact that they shot over 50% from the field and 40% from deep, and you’ve got what will generally result in a victory.
The Hawks were led by Paul Millsap’s 15 points on 15 shots. Lou Williams had 13, Jeff Teague had 12, and DeMarre Carroll had 11. Kyle Korver only had 7, but he did extend his NBA record consecutive games with a three pointer made streak. With the aforementioned rebound disparity as hilariously mismatched as it was, there really isn’t anything else to say about this game. Nuanced strategy goes out the window when one team has literally twice as many rebounds as the other. With this game and the Wizards loss against Memphis, the Bulls now find themselves in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Their record against the rest of the top 6 (Indiana, Miami, Toronto, Washington, Atlanta) is 4-6. So, by all accounts, we’re barely getting started here. Another seemingly futile playoff run seems to be the last things Bulls fans would be interested in, at this point, but it’s what we’re likely in store for.
Just like the Hawks.
Player(s) of the Game: Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson