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Bulls rout Hawks, move half-game up in East


Hawks forward Josh Smith can’t prevent Derrick Rose from scoring second quarter. | John Bazemore~AP

Hawks forward Josh Smith can’t prevent Derrick Rose from scoring in the second quarter. | John Bazemore~AP

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BULLS 114,HAWKS 81

BULLS 31 41 26 16 — 114

Atlanta 21 22 17 21 — 81

BULLS MIN FG-A FT-A O-T A PF PTS

Deng 33:57 10-15 6-6 1-4 1 1 27

Boozer 22:50 3-8 0-2 0-3 4 3 6

Noah 24:54 4-6 0-0 2-7 3 4 8

Rose 28:50 11-20 2-3 2-4 10 0 30

Bogans 23:15 2-2 0-0 0-2 2 2 6

Gibson 21:03 4-6 1-1 3-8 1 4 9

KThomas 10:05 2-2 0-0 0-3 0 2 4

Brewer 17:47 0-2 0-0 0-2 0 1 0

Asik 17:08 1-1 5-8 1-1 0 3 7

Watson 19:10 3-9 2-2 1-3 6 0 8

Korver 16:54 3-6 2-2 0-3 3 1 9

Butler 4:07 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Totals 240 43-79 18-24 10-40 30 22 114

Percentages: FG .544, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 10-18, .556 (Rose 6-8, Bogans 2-2, Korver 1-2, Deng 1-3, Butler 0-1, Watson 0-2). Team Rebounds: 12. Team Turnovers: 12 (13 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Gibson 2, Brewer, Deng). Turnovers: 11 (Watson 3, Gibson 2, Noah 2, Asik, Bogans, Boozer, Rose). Steals: 4 (Watson 2, Brewer, K.Thomas).

Hawks MIN FG-A FT-A O-T A PF PTS

Williams 22:38 3-8 3-4 1-4 0 1 9

Smith 27:29 6-12 2-4 0-2 0 3 14

Horford 28:50 6-7 2-2 1-3 2 4 14

Hinrich 27:58 0-3 0-0 0-0 5 1 0

Johnson 32:00 6-11 1-2 1-5 3 2 13

Crawford 26:12 1-4 0-0 0-1 1 0 2

Pachulia 15:03 0-3 5-6 1-2 2 4 5

Wilkins 16:11 0-2 0-0 0-3 1 3 0

Collins 3:37 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Teague 19:01 6-9 4-4 0-2 2 0 20

Armstrong 12:49 1-3 1-2 1-4 0 2 4

Powell 8:12 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Totals 240 29-64 18-24 5-26 16 23 81

Percentages: FG .453, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 5-6, .833 (Teague 4-4, Armstrong 1-1, Hinrich 0-1). Team Rebounds: 5. Team Turnovers: 13 (17 PTS). Blocked Shots: 7 (Armstrong 2, Horford 2, Teague 2, Smith). Turnovers: 13 (Armstrong 2, Crawford 2, Hinrich 2, Horford 2, Wilkins 2, Johnson, Pachulia, Teague). Steals: 5 (Armstrong 2, Smith 2, Wilkins).

Officials—Scott Foster, Derrick Collins, John Goble. A—18,203 (18,729). T—2:20.

Updated: June 26, 2011 12:17AM



ATLANTA — College basketball fans are immersed in the Final Four.

The Bulls are cranking up for what could be the Final Forty.

They have 12 regular-season games left. And they could play 28 playoff games if they last four rounds and each goes the distance.

No wonder these guys keep saying, ‘‘One game at a time,’’ and ‘‘We just want to keep improving.’’

Otherwise, they might start worrying about having time to buy a Father’s Day gift.

Of course, the way the Bulls are going, it’s possible they could run the playoff table and reach all their goals in only 28 more games.

Looking like an offensive juggernaut for the second consecutive night, they whaled on the Atlanta Hawks 114-81 on Tuesday. The win nudged them a half-game ahead of the idle Boston Celtics for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Even the minister of defense, coach Tom Thibodeau, couldn’t resist joking about his run-and-gun team after it scored 246 points in two nights.

‘‘That’s what we are,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘It was good stuff. I liked how unselfish we were. And the ball was hopping.’’

It was the Bulls’ 10th win in their last 11 games overall, and their seventh win in their last nine road games.

And it was a sensational first half.

Mindful of the 19-point second-quarter lead they blew in an 83-80 loss in Atlanta on March 2, the Bulls erupted for a 72-43 halftime lead, the most points they have scored in a half this season.

‘‘When we got the lead, we were just telling each other, it’s not going to happen again,’’ said Derrick Rose (30 points, 10 assists, his 19th double-double).

Luol Deng had 27 points. And second-unit anchor Taj Gibson shrugged off a painful turf-toe injury on his right big toe to contribute nine points and eight rebounds.

‘‘You can’t say enough about what Luol does for our team,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘Oftentimes, it goes unnoticed, but to none of us. The way he’s playing is spectacular.’’

This is the first time the Bulls, who pounded on Sacramento 132-92 on Monday, have won consecutive games by more than 30 points since Jan. 10 and 11, 1995.

They shot 73.8 percent (31-for-42) in the first half, including 81 percent (17-for-21) in the second quarter.

They weren’t far off the team’s regular-season records for shooting in a half (78.5 percent against the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 23, 1985) and shooting in a quarter (89.5 percent against the Clippers in Los Angeles on Nov. 26, 1991).

‘‘I never saw [a quarter like that] before, but I’m happy to be the team that’s doing it instead of being on the other side,’’ Rose said. ‘‘It was just one of those games where everything’s going right, especially when you’re playing defense. Our defense really gets everything started with fast-break easy points. And we have a lot of players that, when they get going, they can really take it to another level.’’

Thibodeau will be pleased to know that Deng also credited the defense for the Bulls’ offensive fireworks.

‘‘It starts with our defense,’’ Deng said. ‘‘When our mind-set is right on defense, we seem to work harder on offense. When we’re not as focused on defense, we kind of go through the motions on offense.’’

The scoring deluge came on the heels of the 68 points the Bulls put up in the second half against Sacramento on Monday, which equaled their season high of 68 against the Utah Jazz on March 12.

‘‘We’re moving the ball, and guys are making shots,’’ Rose said. ‘‘To win a championship, though, it takes defense.’’



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