After a gutting defeat at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night, the Atlanta Hawks hit the road against an equally gritty opponent, as they square off with the Chicago Bulls. With Derrick Rose on the shelf and Luol Deng in Cleveland, this isn't your older brother's version of the Bulls, but with Tom Thibodeau and Joakim Noah around, the Hawks will certainly need to show up in a big way.
The Bulls enter as the second-best defense in the entire NBA according to the numbers, as they've allowed just 98.1 points per 100 possessions for the entirety of the season. Chicago is coming off of a solid road win against the Lakers on Sunday and, as winners of two of their last three, there is a bit of optimism for the Bulls as they currently sit in a tie with the Washington Wizards for the #5 seed in the East.
From a match-up standpoint, the aforementioned Noah is the best player on the current roster for the Bulls. Elton Brand, Gustavo Ayon, and even Paul Millsap could be called upon to defend Noah on defense, but more importantly, Noah directs traffic for Chicago defensively, and anything that Coach Bud and company can throw at him would be beneficial in getting the Bulls out of sync on both ends.
Even with Chicago's recent play, however, the Bulls do present a nice window for the Hawks in that they simply can't score the basketball effectively for long stretches of time. Tom Thibodeau's team sits in the bottom-five in the league offensively, and in all honesty, there isn't a single "go-to" guy to be seen on the roster for the Bulls. After a 79-76 slugfest on Saturday, most Atlanta fans would love to see an up-and-down, fast-paced version of basketball, but if that is your desire, this isn't the game for you.
Three-game losing skids aren't the end of the world in the NBA, and frankly, every team will likely endure one over the course of the year. However, this is a huge game for the Hawks given that they are on a road back-to-back, and with the schedule mounting on the undermanned roster, there is an increased emphasis on this one.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, February 11, 8:00 p.m.
Location: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM
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