Chicago cruises past Atlanta behind Rose's 30 pointsMar 23, 2011 - 3:46 AM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls are currently the top team in the Eastern Conference, and they made a convincing statement to continue that trend with a 114-81 drubbing of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.
Chicago entered the night tied with the Boston for No. 1 in the conference, but vaulted past the idle Celtics thanks to an impressive 30-point performance from Derrick Rose.
Rose knocked down a career-high six three-pointers and also dished out 10 assists while Luol Deng posted 27 points for the victors. Joakim Noah scored eight while grabbing seven boards and both Kyle Korver and Taj Gibson added nine points off the bench.
"I thought we came out ready to play, we had good balance," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Derrick was very aggressive, Luol was very aggressive, great leadership from those guys."
The Bulls have now won 10 of their last 11, with back-to-back wins coming by 30 or more points.
Jeff Teague knocked down four three-pointers, finishing with 20 points for Atlanta, while both Josh Smith and Al Horford added 14 points in the loss, the Hawks' third in four games.
"Everything that could have gone wrong tonight went wrong," Smith said. "We were bad on our coverages, we didn't help each other. When we play that way we are never going to win games."
Kirk Hinrich, who spent the first seven years of his career with the Bulls, was held scoreless, going 0-for-3 from the field in just under 28 minutes.
Chicago made seven of its first nine shots from the field and held a lead for most of the first quarter. The Bulls ended the stanza on an 11-2 run, capped by a Deng three-pointer with 14.6 seconds remaining, to take a 31-21 lead.
Deng had 11 points on 5-of-6 from the field in the first and opened the second with a bucket to widen the Bulls' lead to 12. After Deng connected on three foul shots, C.J. Watson added a jumper and Korver connected on a basket on his first touch of the game to widen Chicago's lead to 42-25.
A Korver three with just over five minutes remaining pushed the lead to 57-35. Later, consecutive triples from Rose widened it to 67-41.
Rose capped the impressive quarter, which saw Chicago shoot 81 percent from the field, with another three-pointer to give the Bulls a 72-43 lead at halftime.
"Guys were making shots tonight," said Rose. "We still need to improve defensively, we are just trying to stay together on defense and keep pushing ourselves."
Rose and Deng both entered the locker room with 20 points as Rose connected on 4-of-4 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Rose, who was cheered by MVP chants from the Atlanta crowd throughout the game, added 10 more points in the third quarter as the Bulls took an insurmountable 98-60 lead into the final stanza.
The game was never in contention after that.
"We can't be satisfied, we have to keep playing aggressively on both ends of the floor each night." Rose said.
The Bulls are now 20-15 on the road this season...The teams split the two previous meetings this season with both winning on their home court...Chicago is 51-19, the first time it has reached 50 wins since its last NBA title in 1998...The Hawks completed a six-game homestand 3-3...The win snapped a six- game losing streak for the Bulls at Philips Arena...Joe Johnson scored 13 points with five rebounds in the loss.
- CHICAGO: 114
Mar 22 10:40 PM
- CHICAGO: 114
End of Regulation
Mar 22 10:38 PM
- CHICAGO: 98
End of 3rd
Mar 22 10:03 PM
- CHICAGO: 72
Mar 22 9:15 PM
- CHICAGO: 31
End of 1st
Mar 22 8:43 PM
- CHICAGO: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Mar 22 8:18 PM
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