7-2
94 -
Team 1 2 3 4
CHI 18 27 17 32
ATL 33 30 22 24
109
6-3

Bulls-Hawks Preview

AP - Sports

Derrick Rose's latest performance against Atlanta should not have come as much of a surprise to the Hawks.

The reigning MVP looks for another strong game against the Hawks while trying to help the Chicago Bulls to a seventh consecutive victory overall when the teams meet for the second time in five days Saturday night.

After being dominated by Atlanta for three quarters Tuesday, Rose scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth as Chicago (7-1) overcame a 19-point deficit and outscored the Hawks 34-18 in the final period for a 76-74 win at the United Center.

Luol Deng scored 21 points and made the game-winning layup with 3.7 seconds left to secure Chicago's third straight victory over the Hawks (5-3) dating to last season's Eastern Conference semifinals.

"We were right there with them,'' Atlanta center Al Horford said. "We dominated for most of the game. Just Derrick Rose happened.''

Including the playoffs, Rose is averaging 30.3 points and 9.0 assists in his last nine games against the Hawks. He's averaged 31.8 on 50.5 percent shooting and 9.8 assists while the Bulls have won three of the last four at Atlanta.

Despite the exciting finish, neither team played particularly well Tuesday. Atlanta shot 35.0 percent while the Bulls made just 33.8 percent of their shots and went 2 for 21 in the second quarter.

The Hawks went 14 of 25 from the free-throw line.

"We stopped defending with the intensity that we did in the first three quarters,'' Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "We didn't make our free throws going down the stretch. If you don't make your free throws you can't expect to win.''

The Hawks hope they have enough energy to avenge that defeat as they conclude a stretch of three games in three days.

Following the collapse at Chicago, Atlanta lost 116-109 in triple overtime at home Thursday to a Miami team without injured superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The Hawks managed to bounce back but again needed overtime to win 102-96 at Charlotte on Friday.

"We understood coming into this season that the schedule was going to be hectic,'' said forward Josh Smith, who has averaged 18.3 points and 13.3 rebounds over the last three games. "You know it says a lot about this ballclub that when adversity hits us that we stand in there and we fight the battle.''

Chicago, meanwhile, continues to roll after winning 97-83 at Orlando on Friday. The Bulls are off to their best start since winning 12 of 13 to open the 1996-97 season.

Rose had 21 points and 10 assists while Deng also scored 21 and Carlos Boozer saw some rare major fourth-quarter minutes to finish with 20 and 13 rebounds. Kyle Korver went 5 for 7 from 3-point range to score a season-best 18 off the bench.

"Anything to win,'' said Rose, averaging 20.9 points and 8.8 assists. "That was the whole mindset. Just try to get out aggressive. That was the whole game plan.''

Chicago opponents are averaging 76.0 points in the last four games.

The Bulls could be without guard Richard Hamilton for a second straight game due to a groin injury while the Hawks might be minus Tracy McGrady for the second night in a row because of a bruised knee.

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