Bulls-Hawks Preview

The Associated Press

The Atlanta Hawks overcame the absence of another injured starter to end their longest slide of the season.

Facing the same injury scenario, the Chicago Bulls were unable to record their best winning streak of 2013-14.

While Atlanta will remain without Paul Millsap, it's unclear if Chicago's Jimmy Butler will be in the lineup when the visiting Bulls look for a fifth consecutive victory over the Hawks on Tuesday night.

A right knee contusion kept Millsap out of the lineup Saturday, but that didn't prevent Atlanta (26-29) from ending an eight-game skid by rallying from 17 down to win 107-98 over New York. Despite missing Millsap, a first-time All-Star averaging a career-high 17.6 points, the Hawks are pleased to finally have something positive to build on.

"It feels so good," said guard Jeff Teague, who scored 28 after sitting out Friday's 115-107 loss at Detroit with a sore ankle.

"You work hard every day. We come in here and compete. We just couldn't get over the jump the last couple of games."

It will be at least a couple more games until Millsap returns, with the team saying Wednesday he would be held out against Chicago and Thursday against Boston.

Atlanta, which has slipped to eighth in the Eastern Conference, should feel confident after holding the Knicks to fewer than 100 points and 43.8 percent shooting after yielding averages of 108.2 and 49.1 in the previous five contests.

After scoring 20 points off the bench against the Pistons, second-year forward Mike Scott hit six 3-pointers to finish with a career-high 30 on Saturday.

With Millsap hurting, starting center Al Horford out for the season and his backups Pero Antic and Gustavo Ayon also out, the Hawks have needed to rely on the likes of Scott.

"It was great for everyone to come out and play and finally get a win," said Scott, who averages 9.7 points.

Looking to win consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, Atlanta has dropped 13 of 17 regular-season and playoff meetings with Chicago (29-26). The Bulls have won three times by at least 15 points during their current four-game series winning streak.

Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah combined for 43 points and 28 rebounds, and Butler added a season-high 13 boards in a 100-85 home victory over Atlanta on Feb. 11. The Bulls shot 50.6 percent in that contest and 50.0 percent in each of their next three games before a five-game winning streak ended Sunday in a 93-79 loss at Miami. Chicago made 35.8 percent from the floor.

With Butler sitting due to bruised ribs, Noah and Gibson combined for 40 points and 25 boards, but Chicago couldn't take advantage of LeBron James' absence.

"We definitely have to learn from this," Noah told the Bulls' official website. "Mentally, our approach wasn't where it needed to be. We let frustration get to us. You have to move on."

Though Noah had 19 points and 16 rebounds against the Hawks two weeks ago, he's never scored more than 13 in 11 regular-season or playoff games at Atlanta. He's averaged 6.8 boards in his last four there, below his career mark of 9.3.

Ex-Bull Kyle Korver has made at least one 3-pointer in an NBA-record 124 straight games, but has gone 4 of 11 from behind the arc while totaling 15 points in two contests against Chicago this season. He's averaging 11.8 on the season.

What to Read Next