for this game

Hawks snap 12-game skid against Bulls

Jan 13, 2008 - 10:55 PM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Hawks had dropped their last 12 games to the Chicago Bulls. Joe Johnson made sure that it didn't become an unlucky 13.

Johnson scored 19 of his game-high 37 points in the first quarter and Josh Childress chipped in 14 off the bench to power the Hawks to a 105-84 trampling of the Bulls on Sunday afternoon.

Marvin Williams scored 11 points and Josh Smith added nine to lead Atlanta to its first victory over Chicago since April 9, 2004.

"I think we had 12 or 13 consecutive losses to these guys," Smith said. "Since I've been here, we hadn't beaten them. So I just wanted to do whatever it took to get the job done for us to win."

Chicago was in this game for all of about five minutes. The Bulls scored six of the game's first eight points before the Hawks exploded with a 32-9 run to put the game away.

Atlanta's lone 2007 All-Star, Johnson capped the run by collecting his 19th point of the quarter on a fadeaway jumper with 2:26 remaining to give the Hawks an insurmountable 34-15 lead.

Johnson shot a blistering 80 percent (8-for-10) from the field, including 3-for-3 from behind the arc, and grabbed five rebounds in the first quarter for the Hawks. He nearly outscored the entire Bulls team, which mustered 22 points in the quarter.

"(Days like this one) don't come often," Johnson said. "When they do, you have to take advantage of them. Today was one of those days when you get in a rhythm, you just want to seize the moment."

Johnson's team was also solid from the field, connecting on an astounding 73 percent (16-for-22) of its shots in the quarter before posting a season-high 69 first-half points to take a 20-point cushion into the second half.

"Our slow play in the first half really opened the gates for them," Chicago interim coach Jim Boylan said. "They were able to get out and run and get some transition baskets. We just kind of let them have their way. We obviously fell deep into a hole."

Atlanta, which held a 14 point cushion going into the fourth quarter, was well aware of the team's recent streak of futility against Chicago.

Of the 15 Hawks roster players, only point guard Anthony Johnson had defeated the Bulls while in a Hawks uniform - and that was around the turn of the century.

"It feels great," Joe Johnson said. "It's my first time beating them since I've been here. That's a good feeling."

Chicago had beaten Atlanta in just about every conceivable way since Hawks coach Mike Woodson took over the reigns of the club in the 2004-2005 campaign. They've blown them out. The Hawks blew late leads. The Bulls pulled out tough games in overtime.

"We've never beaten them since I've been here as coach," Woodson said. "They've done a great job every time we've played them. But I thought it was just our night tonight. We did everything from rebounding to defending the ball. We got out and ran, and we made shots tonight."

The Hawks stepped on the gas in the fourth quarter, leading by as many as 24 in the game's final two minutes.

"I remember that one and the game against Utah (last year) where we were up 21 points," Smith said. "We thought that game was over. They made an unbelievable run and it left a sour taste in our mouth. We're a more mature team. We just had to stay focused and keep that mental edge."

They also ran all over the Bulls all night. Atlanta held a 24-14 advantage on the fast break and scored 14 more points in the paint than Chicago.

"I just think we were focused," Woodson said. "We stayed with the game plan and we shared the ball offensively. I just thought it was a solid effort across the board."

The Bulls were without rookie Joakim Noah, who was benched for the second straight game, but this one was at the insistence of his teammates. Noah got into an argument with assistant coach Ron Adams while practicing prior to Chicago's contest in Philadelphia on Friday.

Luol Deng returned from a three-game absence with left Achilles tendinitis to pour in a team-high 28 points and Andres Nocioni added 20 for Bulls, who fell to 5-2 against Southeast Division opponents.

"It was a good game (for me) offensively," Deng said. "Defensively, I was terrible and so were all of us. Offensively, we shot the ball well. Defensively, I didn't play the defense I normally play."

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