The Atlanta Hawks will look to snap a three game slide when the visit the United Center and the Chicago Bulls tonight. Interestingly it was the Bulls that the Hawks last defeated 83-80 back on March 2. Since that game Chicago hasn't lost winning four in a row while the Hawks have dropped all three games since.
In tonight's game, Atlanta will be looking to duplicate the defensive effort they had against Derrick Rose and the Bulls in that earlier meeting. Rose was just 1-11 from the field for two points and had six turnovers after halftime in that meeting. Hawks power forward Josh Smith sat out the game with the Bulls due to a knee injury. Smith will suit up tonight for the Hawks.
This time it is Chicago who could be without the services of their starting power forward as Carlos Boozer who suffered a sprained ankle against Charlotte on Wednesday. According the Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, the swelling will determine whether Boozer plays or not against the Hawks tonight.
"If the swelling is down more, he'll go [Friday night, when the Bulls host the Atlanta Hawks]," Thibodeau said after the Bulls practice Thursday at the Berto Center. "It could be anywhere from a couple days to a week."
If Boozer is out, then it is likely that Taj Gibson will make the start in his place.
Atlanta is looking to put together a complete performance tonight for the first time in a long time while trying to get the ship headed back in the right direction. While the Hawks defensive struggles sometimes garner all of the attention, it is the Hawks offense and shot selection that has been out of whack of late. Atlanta needs to look for balance and perhaps putting Joe Johnson in the post tonight against Keith Bogans or Ronnie Brewer could be the answer.
Nothing will come easy for the Hawks tonight whether the Bulls are with or without Boozer. This Chicago club has lost only four times at home all season and has moved past Miami for the second spot in the Eastern Conference. Entering tonight's game, the Bulls are just a game and a half behind the first place Boston Celtics.