Bulls-Hawks Game Review - USA TODAY

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Bulls-Hawks Game Review - USA TODAY
Mar 28th 2012, 16:00

Bulls-Hawks Game Review

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Luol Deng scored 22 points, Carlos Boozer added 20 and nine rebounds, and Chicago continued its standard of excellence without Derrick Rose, besting the Hawks, 98-77.

"We played great," said Deng. "We moved the ball well. Guys got easy looks because of the ball movement.

Taj Gibson added a season-best 19 points to go along with six rebounds, while John Lucas and Joakim Noah added 10 points apiece for the Bulls, who won for the fifth time in six games despite missing Rose again with a right groin injury.

Chicago improved to 6-2 in the last eight games without Rose, in part because of Deng, who again logged heavy minutes and drained five of Chicago's nine treys. The Bulls haven't lost back-to-back games all season.

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 19 points and seven boards, while Jeff Teague added 13 points and eight assists. Joe Johnson was a quiet 5-of-11 for 12 points in the loss, Atlanta's second straight.

"We just seemed to get stuck in the mud," said Atlanta head coach Larry Drew. "We just couldn't overcome it (the slow start)."

Atlanta jumped out to a 13-5 lead by attacking the interior off the dribble and on post moves by Zaza Pachulia, who's running layup opened the eight-point edge nearly five minutes in.

Chicago knifed into the deficit, moving within 23-21 at the end of the period, then used the momentum to jump in front during the second stanza. The Bulls scored 11 straight spanning the two quarters with Deng's three opening a 28-23 edge.

The visitors, even without Rose's services, found room off the dribble and kicked the basketball to open shooters who took advantage. The Bulls made their first seven threes, with the second of two from Lucas opening a 54-36 lead and capping 12 successive points.

The Hawks scored the final six points of the first half then ran off the first five of the third stanza to draw within 54-47 on Johnson's wide-open three. The wide open looks were few and far between, however, as the Bulls tightened the clamps and pushed the margin back out to double digits.

Atlanta pulled within 62-56 before Deng spearheaded a 12-0 stretch to take control of the contest. Noah scored the first four points and two Deng threes highlighted the stretch for a 74-56 edge.

The Hawks never recovered, as the Bulls kept their double-digit lead the rest of the way thanks to balanced scoring and suffocating defense.

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