Rapid Reaction: Bulls 93, Hawks 76
February, 2, 2013
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com
ATLANTA -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned an impressive 93-76 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night at Phillips Arena.
How it happened: Playing without Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis in right foot), Carlos Boozer (right hamstring) and Kirk Hinrich (right elbow) for the second straight night, the Bulls found a way to get the job done ramping up their defensive pressure and playing with the type of edge that Tom Thibodeau is always preaching about. Luol Deng led the Bulls, scoring 25 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Taj Gibson had another solid game with 19 points and 19 rebounds while Nate Robinson chipped in with 20 points.
What it means: Thibodeau never doubted his team could win without Noah, Boozer and Hinrich, and his faith in them paid off. As usual, it was Deng who set the tone on both ends -- but the entire team played with an impressive energy given this was second night of a back-to-back. Gibson has played great in major minutes over the past two nights and Robinson bounced back after a 4-for-16 performance against the Brooklyn Nets. This game was defined by the repeated second and third chance opportunities the Bulls created with their hard-nosed play. Thibodeau has to be pleased with the way his team hustled throughout the night, and given the circumstances, this is one of the Bulls' most impressive wins of the year.
Hits: Jimmy Butler continues to play well in big minutes. He had 16 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.
Misses: Rip Hamilton had just six points and went 3-for-14 from the field.
Stat of the night: Deng has now played 94 minutes over the past two games. Gibson has played 93 minutes.
What's next: The Bulls head to Indianapolis to face off against the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. ET on Monday night.