for this game

Deng, big third quarter help Bulls cruise past Hawks

Nov 28, 2007 - 5:18 AM By Bruce Levine PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Hawks continue to be a punching bag for the Chicago Bulls.

Luol Deng scored eight of his 22 points in a big third quarter as the Bulls breezed by the Hawks, 90-78, on Tuesday.

Ben Gordon also had 11 of his 21 points right after halftime for Chicago, which has beaten Atlanta 12 straight times.

"Our defense was exceptional for long stretches tonight," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "That's what enabled us to stay in the game and eventually get our offense going. Our overall energy was good."

The Bulls snapped a four-game losing streak and were happy to be home after going 1-5 on their annual road trip near the beginning of the season when the circus comes to the United Center for two weeks.

Leading, 34-30, at the half, Chicago outscored Atlanta, 36-21, in the third to take a 70-51 lead into the final period.

Deng, who left the game briefly in the second quarter after being poked in the eye, connected on 3-of-4 in the quarter as Bulls went on a 17-6 run to build their lead to 53-38 with 5:49 remaining.

"We needed this game," Deng said. "We have been struggling and, although it wasn't pretty, we got a win. Hopefully, this will get us on a roll."

Gordon scored seven points in the last 2 1/2 minutes of the period to help push Chicago's lead to 19 after three quarters.

The Bulls, who shot 33 percent before halftime, finished at 39 percent (35-of-89) from the field - slightly above of their NBA-low 38 percent entering this contest.

Chris Duhon also scored nine of his 11 points in the third for Chicago, which hasn't lost to Atlanta since April 9, 2004.

"It seemed like the guys were able to get some rhythm in the second half," Duhon said. "I was able to penetrate their defense and kick it out to the other shooters."

Joe Johnson scored 21 points and Josh Smith scored 12 for the Hawks, who shot 40 percent (27-of-68) from the floor and were trying for their first sweep of a three-game road trip since April 9-12, 1997.

"It's upsetting to know we could have gone 3-0 on this trip," Johnson said. "I am really disappointed in our effort tonight. We didn't have any energy in the second half."

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