Hawks-Bulls Preview

The Associated Press

While the Chicago Bulls have enjoyed some big wins on the road lately, they haven't been able to match that success at home.

The Atlanta Hawks are hoping that trend continues as they look to move past their recent road struggles.

The Bulls will try to avoid a third consecutive loss at the United Center on Monday night when they host the Hawks, who have dropped four straight away from home.

Chicago (20-15) has won eight of its last 10 on the road, including a win at Miami and two at New York after a 108-101 victory over the Knicks on Friday night.

The Bulls, however, haven't seemed to play with the same edge at home while dropping four of six there. They fell to 10-10 on their home floor Saturday when Phoenix stopped a 12-game road skid with a 97-81 win.

Charlotte also snapped its 18-game overall losing streak with a 91-81 victory in Chicago on Dec. 31.

"We're going on the road and beating some of the best teams, then coming home against lower-echelon teams and not competing," center Joakim Noah said. "If we all knew what the problem was, we'd do something about it."

The Bulls will try to get it figured out against an Atlanta team that has dropped four in a row at the United Center dating back to the 2011 playoffs.

After winning 20 of their first 30 games, the Hawks (21-15) are mired in their worst stretch of the season. They lost for the fifth time in six games Saturday, falling 93-83 at league-worst Washington.

"We had opportunities, and just some plays went wrong," said guard Jeff Teague, who led Atlanta with 19 points.

Center Al Horford will try to help his team recover after finishing with 16 points and 12 rebounds Saturday. Horford had 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting and 10 boards to lead the Hawks to a 92-75 victory over the visiting Bulls on Dec. 22.

Teammate Lou Williams is looking to break out of a recent slump after averaging 9.0 points on 10-of-33 (30.3 percent) shooting in his last three games off the bench. The guard had scored 22.0 points per game as a starter in the previous three contests.

Atlanta averaged 98.0 points over its first two months of the season, but it ranks near the bottom of the NBA in scoring at 90.3 in January.

The Hawks hope to find a spark against a Chicago defense that has been vulnerable lately. While the Bulls rank third in the league in points allowed at 92.3 per game, they've given up 100.7 in their last three.

Carlos Boozer has done all he can to help the team develop some consistency, averaging 21.3 points and 10.9 rebounds while recording seven double-doubles in eight games. Boozer had 15 points and 10 boards Saturday and Noah added 10 and 13, but the Bulls lost for only the second time in 13 games when both big men finish with double-doubles.

Luol Deng led the Bulls with only 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting in last month's meeting with the Hawks, who outrebounded Chicago 45-31.

The Bulls want to bounce back after shooting just 36.4 percent from the floor and 2 of 11 from 3-point range against the Suns.

"We have to play with more intensity, more of an edge," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We are not doing that. We have to correct it."

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