for this game

Bulls cruise past Hawks in return from All-Star break

Feb 21, 2007 - 5:32 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Chicago Bulls hope a consistent second half started against the Atlanta Hawks.

Chris Duhon scored 17 points and Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng added 16 each to help the Bulls snap a two-game losing streak with a 106-81 win over the Hawks.

Chicago emerged from halftime with a slim 48-43 lead, but held Atlanta to 0-of-16 shooting from the field in the third quarter to blow the game open.

The Bulls led, 76-51, after three quarters as the Hawks went 14:06 without notching a field goal - from the end of the first half to early into the fourth quarter.

"I don't know what went wrong and I wish I knew," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "I thought we played pretty well in the first half, then in the third quarter we couldn't make a shot.

"We were just off in that third quarter, 28-8 that is the story right there, that is the game. We didn't even have a field goal that period, that I think has not happened to us all season."

The last time an NBA team went an entire quarter without a field goal was February 2, 2006, at Utah when the Jazz held Sacramento without a basket for a period.

Deng had six points and Hinrich and Duhon added five each in the decisive third quarter. Chicago held All-Star Joe Johnson to just nine points on 2-of-12 shooting. The Bulls were particularly stingy on the perimeter, limiting Atlanta to just 2-of-11 from beyond the arc.

"We did a good job defensively in the second half. the first half I think we were just trading baskets," Hinrich said. "It was nice to pull away in the third quarter."

Josh Childress scored 16 points off the bench to lead the Hawks. Marvin Williams and Josh Smith were the only other Atlanta players in double figures with 12 and 11, respectively.

Chicago came into the game having lost nine of 13 games before the break. The Bulls have been one of the better second-half teams in the league over the past two years, compiling a 39-24 post-break record.

"We have done that the last two seasons, last year we had to because otherwise we would not have made the playoffs," Duhon said. "But we are off to a good start and need to keep it going if we expect to win our division."

The win was the 10th straight for the Bulls over the Hawks. Atlanta's last win in the series was in Chicago, 116-101, on April 9, 2004.

"I don't know what it is because they are a very athletic team, we have just been lucky to take care of business at crunch time with them," Hinrich said.

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    ATLANTA 81

    Feb 20 10:51 PM

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    ATLANTA 51

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    ATLANTA 43

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    ATLANTA 19

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