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Ugly but exciting, Bulls come from 19 down to beat Hawks

Jan 4, 2012, 1:38 AM EDT

Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Carlos Boozer AP

There were moments in the second quarter — when at one point the Bulls were 1-of-12 shooting and the Hawks 3-for-13 — when this contest made you want to weep for the game of basketball. The art of shooting felt like it had been set back 50 years.

Then the ending redeemed all that is great about the game. Well, unless you’re a Hawks fan, then it was just frustrating.

Chicago stormed from 19 down in the third quarter to pull out a dramatic 76-74 win — on a game winning basket where Derrick Rose set the pick and was the decoy and Luol Deng slid open for a layup. Watch it for yourself.

First, we must talk about the ugliness. The Chicago Bulls started out just ice cold — there were 8-of-33 at one point in the second quarter with eight turnovers. When you have as many turnovers as baskets, you know things are going poorly. Chicago also started 0-9 from three and like they had against the Heat the night before, the Hawks looked pretty good on defense.

It got so bad the Bulls were booed by the home town faithful.

Which is unfair. In a season with barely any training camp and a condensed schedule that reduces practices we are going to see more of these off nights. We’ve already seen this before multiple times this season, where a team looks brilliant one night and a mess two nights later. Coaches are experimenting with lineups still, players are adjusting and there are inevitably sloppy nights for every team.

What mattered for the Bulls is they fought through it and turned it around.

Rose, who finished with 30, led the way scoring 17 of those in the fourth quarter. The Bulls went on a 20-6 run to start the quarter as they did it with a lineup of Rose, Deng, Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver and Omer Asik. For the whole quarter. Carlos Boozer never saw the floor, nor did Ronnie Brewer, and Joakim Noah came in just for his passing on the final play (which worked out, he got the assist to Deng on the game winner).

For the Hawks, they started to come apart under a combination of tired legs from having to play the Heat and Bulls back-to-back, then getting out of the flow of their offense. When things got tough the Hawks too often resorted to their traditional late game offense Joe Johnson pounding the ball for a while then a pull up jumper. Johnson finished the game with 10 points on 3-of-17 shooting (we told you parts of this game was ugly).

What kept the Hawks in it at the end were rainbow jumpers from Josh Smith — but when he is taking those and not attacking you live with it. Eventually he missed a couple. Meanwhile Rose kept attacking the rim all night.

Which is why the last play worked. Everyone in the building thought Rose would get the ball, so when he was the screener on Deng everyone stayed with him and by the time the pass was made and the Hawks reacted, it was too late.

Bulls win. Ugly, but that’s how good teams win some times. And it can be a lot of fun.

  1. zblott - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    This will keep the Bulls a hair ahead of the Hawks in the Power Rankings:

  2. albie23 - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    DaaaaMN it!!! I missed it! I was having such a frustrating day and when I seen the Bulls playing horribly in the third I changed the channel as soon as they were 19 points down! Anyway….GO BULLS!!!

  3. thebakesho - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    Wait a second Helin, you are totally framing the Chicago fan base as the Philly fan base, “It got so bad the Bulls were booed by the home town faithful.”

    First off, Boozer and Noah were playing sooooooooooo bad they were benched for what seemed the entire second half. Noah FROZE UNDER THE HOOP FOR A WIDE OPEN DUNK! Then was pulled for the rest of the game. I can’t remember any instance, during the entire game I was at, where the Bulls faithful got so ugly that they weren’t booing for a good reason. Before you talk about training camp and preparation and whatever other journalistic bs you have to fill your articles with, realize this team has been together for more than a year. No excuse for poor execution which is why Thibs is the great coach that he is and benched the players that make most of the dough and can’t show up. I love my team, but I’m gonna say that the Bulls fans know what quality bball is, and when the boo birds came out they were constructive, which brought out the 2nd team (Korver, Asik, & Gibson) and what do you know, when that happened, WE WON!

  4. joj0420 - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:19 AM

    and u call them ur team? get outta here ur a disgrace guy

    • philtration - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      And you call that spelling?
      Talk about a disgrace.
      If you are going to rip someone else in public at least do it like a big boy.

      u no wha i b sayin?

  5. thatboi901 - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Seems like hawks match up well enough to upset the Bulls or Heat in the playoffs. As long as Average Joe plays at least average.

    • chitownmatt - Jan 4, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      How can you say that when the Bulls obviously played FAR below their averages last night and still took the W?

      Playoffs are a long-long way away, injuries are likely to factor into things between now and then.

      But if the playoffs started today, it would be pretty hard to imagine Atlanta taking even two games from the Heat or the Bulls.

  6. chicago240 - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Sometimes the Accuracy Fairy leaves the building. Bulls showed their need for Rip Hamilton’s mid range jumper last night. Hard to applaud the Hawks defense when the shots the Bulls were missing were WIDE OPEN and not necessarily with hands in their faces. No one to blame but themselves. Noah was pitiful and makes one cringe whenever he tries to do anything while dribbling. And would SOMEONE tell me why a burly guy like Boozer doesn’t know how to go up strong or dunk a basketball. What’s with the dainty layups he keeps missing. Final comment: zone defense and the adjustments thereto will play an interesting role in the outcome of this season for several teams.

    • comeonnowguys - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      Exactly this. It wasn’t zone defense that caused people to miss technical free throws or two-footers. Sure, Atlanta played the zone well, but the Bulls also found nearly every way for a shot to bounce, rim, or spin out.

      And having C.J. Watson would have been nice too.

  7. djcase31 - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Bulls win with Tough D. Going to hard to beat. BIG fan.

  8. klownboy - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    The Bulls are making my pick a little shaky, but they may be turning the corner now…

  9. goldkj - Jan 4, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    “It got so bad the Bulls were booed by the home town faithful.”

    Just to clarify, they were booing Boozer after he fumbled a pass and kicked it out of bounds. That’s hardly unfair. He sat on the bench the entire 4th qtr for a reason.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      The boos I heard were broader than that.

      • comeonnowguys - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:16 PM

        I love this team, but with the turnovers and the abyssmal shooting, by the time it got to 19 in the third period, yes, a bit of the “ok, let’s go” booing was more than warranted.

        There’s a difference between booing play and booing players.

  10. rosloe62 - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Howard Who? Teams win games…individuals win stats. The short season is going to be tough to get in sync, but by playoff time guys are going to be much fresher.

  11. JMil_ATL - Jan 4, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Both teams shot poorly towards the end. I wouldn’t feel good if I were a bulls fan because your team barely won at home.

    Hopefully Hawks can keep it together and make a better push in the playoffs. They do match up better than anyone predicted. I don’t think anyone in the media expected Hawks to beat heat or almost beat bulls.

    • comeonnowguys - Jan 5, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      That’s the difference between Bulls fans and Hawk fans. Bulls fans don’t feel good about it.

      Hawks didn’t exactly put on a clinic, and let a team come back from 19 in the second half. I hope they’re not feeling too good about that.

  12. glink123 - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Boozer should be fined $10k for every dunkable shot that he decides to layup and miss. He has three more of them tonight against the Pistons. Honestly, I think he’s just lazy, and doesn’t feel like putting forth the effort to jump to dunk.

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