Derek Rose missed yet another game with an ailing groin injury but the Chicago Bulls were able to improve their record to 13-5 playing without their leading scorer. Loul Deng picked up the slack leading all scorers with 22 points to pace the Bulls to a 98-77 win over the Hawks in Atlanta.
In a game of runs, the Bulls turned up the heat in the second quarter. Leading by 8 with 5 minutes remaining Joakim Noah ignited a 12-0 run with his only basket of the period. Reserve guard John Lucas came off the bench to score 10 points and pace Chicago to a 54-42 halftime lead. The Hawks made a run of their own out of the break. A triple by Kirk Hinrich followed by a layup from Jeff Teague cut the lead to 4. It was the closest Atlanta would get.
It was déjà vu all over again as the Bull opened up another run at almost the same exact time as the second quarter to stretch the lead out to sixteen points. Deng and Carlos Boozer combined for 14 of the 22 points scored by the Bulls in the quarter.
The rest of the game was pretty much a highlight reel for Taj Gibson. The Bulls forward scored 11of his 19 points in the fourth on an array of dunks and put backs.
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