0

Horford helps Drew get 100th win with Hawks

Dec 22, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Kyle Korver (26) shoots over Chicago Bulls point guard Nate Robinson (2) during the second half at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 92-75. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 22, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Kyle Korver (26) shoots over Chicago Bulls point guard Nate Robinson (2) during the second half at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 92-75. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks could have been giddy after trouncing the Chicago Bulls 92-75 Saturday night at Philips Arena. Instead they were relieved.

Al Horford broke out of a three-game scoring slump to lead the Hawks and wrap up Larry Drew's 100th win as the Hawks' head coach. He is the second fastest Atlanta coach to reach 100 wins, at 173 games, after Lenny Wilkens did it in 166 games.

"That was probably one of our most energized wins thus far this year," Drew said. "I thought our defense triggered our offense.

"We contested shots and we ran. I don't think they had a fast-break basket in the first half, and that was a huge stat."

Horford, shooting a miserable 26 percent (9 of 35) from the field in the last week, scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds for his first double-double since Dec. 12 at Orlando. Josh Smith scored 12 points and had five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

"I was taking the same kind of shots," Horford said of his much-needed breakout. "They felt good and they were just falling."

Luol Deng, whose sore left shoulder made him a game-time decision, led the Bulls (15-11) with 11 points. Joakim Noah had 10 points and nine rebounds.

"We got beat in every facet," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Our defense wasn't any good, our rebounding was poor and you're on the road. They're a good team. You've got to play for 48 minutes."

Lou Williams, making his first start for the Hawks, scored 16 points, including the Hawks' first basket after they got off to an 0-for-6 start in a sluggish first quarter for both teams.

The Hawks (16-9) built a dominating lead in the second quarter, outscoring the Bulls 36-16. Kyle Korver's 3-point buzzer-beater at the half put the Hawks up 53-37; he finished with 13 points and six rebounds.

Both teams played Friday night and traveled, and it showed in the ragged beginning of the game. The first points didn't come until Noah's layup at 8:49 after a collective 10 missed jump shots.

"You look at Atlanta, they played, too," said Thibodeau, rejecting the theory that Friday's physical, emotional win over the Knicks was a factor. "They were on the road. It's a will game. It's 21-17 (after the first quarter), you're ready and you have a lead. We've got to do better."

The Hawks had lost two straight and three of their last four while the Bulls came into the game 6-0 on the road against Eastern Conference teams.

"Tough loss," Noah said. "The highs and lows of this thing are unbelievable, man. One night you feel great because you won a big game, and then the next night you come out with the wrong mind-set and you lose the game.

"Tonight our energy was bad. I feel like we settled for too many shots early in the clock. When you're tired, sometimes you've just got to move the ball."

With the game already out of reach at 72-47 with 3:58 left in the third quarter, Bulls rookie guard Marquis Teague entered the game, the first time he has played against his older brother, Hawks guard Jeff Teague, as professionals. Jeff Teague outscored his brother 11-8 and also had eight assists.

NOTES: Drew, displeased by his team's lack of energy in Friday night's 99-80 loss to the Sixers in Philadelphia, started Williams, hoping the Hawks would get off to a faster start. Not that he had a lot of choice: Devin Harris missed a second consecutive game with a sore left foot and DeShawn Stevenson's balky knees always make him a game-time decision in back-to-back games. ... Thibodeau, reflecting on the chaotic, ejection-filled end to Friday night's 110-106 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, said of Noah, "It's an emotional game. I don't want to take that away. But I do want him to control it. Once they start calling technicals and are throwing people out, you've got to realize, OK, they're not taking anymore." ... Taj Gibson (right ankle) and Deng (left shoulder) were game-time decisions after warming up; Deng ended up starting.

-----------------------------------------------