Published February 25, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls had their winning streak cut short their last time out and seek a bounce-back effort Tuesday against the Atlanta Hawks from Philips Arena.
The Bulls entered Sunday's tilt with the Miami Heat winners of five in a row, but dropped a 93-79 decision even with superstar LeBron James on the bench in a suit because of a broken nose. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 28 and 23 points, respectively.
Miami scored 22 points off 19 Chicago turnovers and the visitors were paced by Joakim Noah's 20 points and 15 rebounds. Taj Gibson scored 20 points off the bench and Mike Dunleavy netted 13 for Chicago, which made only 35.8 percent of its shots and 6-of-21 3-pointers.
A 25-12 difference in the third quarter put the Bulls behind heading into the final stanza. The fourth quarter was tight throughout, but Miami had a sizeable lead to dispose of the Bulls.
"Those guys have ended our seasons a lot," Noah said. "You've got to hate playing those guys, and every time we play them our intensity has to be high."
Chicago's Jimmy Butler missed the contest with a bruised rib and he is listed as day-to-day. Butler is averaging 12.4 points this season.
The Bulls, seeded fourth in the East and near the top in opponent scoring and field goal percentage, are 13-16 on the road and will return home for a Windy City matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
Since New Year's Day, the Bulls are an Eastern Conference-best 17-8. Indiana is also 17-8 and Miami has a 16-7 mark in that span.
Atlanta finally put the brakes on a season-worst eight-game losing streak with Saturday's 107-98 win over the visiting New York Knicks.
Even without All-Star Paul Millsap because of a bruised knee, the Hawks saw Mike Scott pour in a career-high 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting off the bench and Jeff Teague contribute 28 points, making 13-of-15 from the foul line.
DeMarre Carroll scored a career-best 24 points and Lou Williams chipped in 14 for an Atlanta squad that shot 43.2 percent and outscored the Knicks 39-25 in the final quarter. The Hawks overcame a 17-point deficit in the second half and were hot from 3-point range, draining 16-of-31 from downtown.
Scott hit 6-of-7 3-pointers, Carroll 4-of-8 and Kyle Korver sank two of his four shots from beyond the arc. Korver has made at least one 3-pointer in an NBA-record 124 games in a row.
"Any team that has lost a few games in a row ... six, seven, eight, whatever it was, it's just a good feeling," Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. "For them to be rewarded for how hard they're working, for their character, their competitiveness, it's nice to see that."
Millsap, meanwhile, is expected to miss Tuesday's game and is averaging 17.6 points and 8.3 rebounds this season, his first with Atlanta. He is the only player in the NBA this season averaging at least 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 block.
The Hawks, who are 17-10 at home, will have a tough job of scoring on Chicago's stingy defense, especially without Millsap in the middle banging with Noah, Gibson and Carlos Boozer.
"They clog the paint, they play team defense," Teague said of the Bulls. "They're big, they're long, they're athletic. Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, those guys are really active on the defensive end."
Atlanta, which sits eighth in the conference standings and will open a six- game road trip Wednesday at Boston, is 0-2 against the Bulls this season and has lost four in a row and 10 of the past 15 games in this series.