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News » Bulls-Hawks Preview 2008-12-27


Bulls-Hawks Preview 2008-12-27


Bulls-Hawks Preview 2008-12-27
Although he's not shooting well during the Atlanta Hawks' homestand, Joe Johnson is still finding ways to be successful.

Johnson looks to follow up his second career triple-double on Saturday night as the Hawks host the Chicago Bulls, who will try to avoid losing their seventh straight on the road.

Atlanta (18-10) has won three straight and six of its last seven, taking good advantage of a season-high eight-game homestand, which ends Monday against Denver. The Hawks began this stretch on Dec. 13 with a 97-92 win over Cleveland, and improved to 11-2 at home this season with a 99-88 win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

"We're in good shape right now. Obviously this is the best team I've ever been on since I've been here," said Marvin Williams, now in his fourth season after Atlanta took him second overall in 2005.

Last season, the Hawks made the playoffs for the first time since 1998-99, but lost in seven games to eventual NBA champion Boston in the first round.

Johnson had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists against the Thunder for his first triple-double since Feb. 1, 2006. It came despite him shooting 8-of-23 from the field.

Johnson leads the Hawks in scoring (22.6 points per game), and is a 45.0-percent shooter this season. But he's shooting 41.4 percent during the first six games of the homestand, and 37.0 percent in the last four.

"I didn't shoot well, but at the same time, I was able to do other things," said Johnson, who hadn't recorded a double-double this season before Tuesday. "My teammates were making shots. I was just trying to crash the boards, get rebounds and just make plays."

The Hawks will try to win their fourth straight and look to be the latest to take advantage of the road struggles of the Bulls (13-16), who fell to 3-13 away from Chicago after losing 90-77 to Miami on Friday.

The Bulls trailed by one early in the fourth quarter, but missed 13 of their final 17 shots as the Heat pulled away.

"It was a close game and then it just got away," said Ben Gordon, who led the Bulls with 15 points. "We never made plays down to the end. We didn't play winning basketball and that's what happens when you play like that in critical moments of the game."

Luol Deng left in the third quarter after spraining his left ankle, and his status for this game is not immediately known. Deng is averaging 13.3 points this season, but has been held below 10 in four of the last five games.

The Bulls haven't lost three in a row all season, but their last win away from the United Center was a 103-92 victory against Philadelphia on Nov. 30.

Atlanta beat Chicago 113-108 on Nov. 11 for its third win in the last four meetings between the teams. The Hawks had lost the previous 12 matchups.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 27, 2008

 

 
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