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Depleted Bulls limp into Atlanta
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls will try to just get some live bodies back on the floor Saturday night when the visit Philips Arena to meet the Atlanta Hawks.
The Bulls played in Brooklyn Friday night, but did so without starters, All- Star center Joakim Noah, power-forward Carlos Boozer and point guard Kirk Hinrich. Noah missed the game with a foot injury, Boozer a hamstring and Hinrich a sore right elbow.
Noah is listed as day-to-day, but could be out until the All-Star break. Same goes for Hinrich, who traveled back to Chicago to meet with Bulls physicians. Boozer could be back on Saturday night.
And, despite missing three starters and shooting guard Rip Hamilton going for about 17 minutes, the Bulls fell to the Nets, 93-89. The Bulls held a lead in the fourth quarter, but couldn't hang on.
"This was our second unit," said Taj Gibson, who played all 48 minutes Friday. "We played hard with our second unit. It shows we have a shot of winning the East. We kept fighting and fighting. But no moral victories."
Deng, also an All Star, played all but four seconds, scored 18 points and shared high-scoring honors with Marco Belinelli. Gibson netted 16 and Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler chipped in 12 apiece.
Chicago has won eight of its last 11 and owns a half-game lead in the Central Division.
The Hawks have won four of their last five, including a 93-92 nail-biter over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
Al Horford scored the go-ahead basket with 21.5 seconds left, then played a huge part on the defensive end. He swatted a Kyle Lowry shot with 12.6 seconds to go, then blocked a DeMar DeRozan attempt just before the clock ran out on the Raptors.
"I was a little frustrated just because I didn't feel we came out with energy we needed," said Horford. "The important thing was we were able to win the game."
Horford paced the Hawks with 22 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Josh Smith nearly mirrored Horford's stat line with 20 points, 11 boards and three blocks.
It wasn't a crisp victory for Atlanta. The Hawks committed 17 turnovers, which led to 22 Raptors points and they fell behind by 10 at the half.
Despite the double-figure rebounding numbers for Horford and Smith, the Raptors owned the matchup on the glass, 52-36. Beside Horford and Smith, the seven other Hawks too see action Wednesday combined for 15 rebounds.
The teams have split their two meetings this season with each team winning at home. The Bulls have captured six of the last nine matchups with the Hawks, but are 2-8 in their last 10 in Atlanta.
02/02 10:40:20 ET
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