Korver hits 7 3s, Hawks soar past Bulls for 12th straight win
The Hawks (33-8) have won 26 of 28 since a 7-6 start, surging to the top of the Eastern Conference with one of the NBA’s most efficient offenses and a stingy defense. They closed out the first half of the season with impressive road wins over Toronto and Chicago on consecutive nights.
Derrick Rose had 23 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for Chicago (27-15), which has dropped five of seven. Pau Gasol had 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler scored 15.
Atlanta and Chicago also played on Dec. 15, with the Hawks winning 93-86 at home. It looks as if the gap between the division leaders has only increased since the first meeting of the season.
Korver had 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting from 3-point range as Atlanta led by as many as 14 on its way to a 48-39 advantage at the break. The Hawks jumped into passing lanes and used their active hands to disrupt Chicago’s offense, with the Bulls committing seven turnovers in the first quarter after they totaled seven during Friday night’s win at Boston.
With a roster full of solid veterans, it seemed as if Atlanta was able to get an open look any time it wanted one. After Gasol’s layup got Chicago within eight in the second quarter, Millsap responded with a layup and Teague found Korver for a 3 to make it 48-35 with 2:02 to go.
It was more of the same in the second half. Each time Chicago made a run, Atlanta responded.
Korver had a four-point play that made it 80-69 with 11:09 to go. After Rose had a slick layup on the break that got Chicago within five, Horford buried a face-up jumper and Millsap made two foul shots to run the lead back out to 97-88 with 3:29 remaining.
The Bulls played without center Joakim Noah, sidelined by a sprained right ankle for the second straight game. The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year was scheduled for an MRI on Saturday, but coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game that he had not received the results.
Chicago forward Mike Dunleavy missed his ninth consecutive game with a right ankle problem, and rookie Doug McDermott remains out with a right knee injury.
The Hawks rested second-year center Pero Antic after the reserve played 16 1/2 minutes in the victory at Toronto. Coach Mike Budenholzer, an assistant to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio before he took over Atlanta in 2013, said he just wanted to give Antic a break.
”Just kind of keeping him healthy,” Budenholzer said. ”With Pero all year, we kind of pick out spots and just try to be proactive.”
Hawks: G Shelvin Mack exited in the first half with a left calf strain. … Atlanta had dropped its last seven games in Chicago, counting the postseason. It was the Hawks’ first road win against the Bulls since a 103-95 playoff victory on May 2, 2011.
Bulls: Rose went 4 for 10 from 3-point range and is 15 for 27 from beyond the arc in the last three games. … The Bulls have lost their last three at the United Center, dropping their home record to 12-10.
Hawks: Host Detroit on Monday.
Bulls: Visit Cleveland on Monday night.