NBA Game Summary - Atlanta at Chicago
(Tuesday, March 25th)
Final Score: Chicago 103, Atlanta 94
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Drew Gooden had a season-high 31 points and pulled down 16 rebounds, as the Chicago Bulls used a dominating third quarter to pick up a crucial 103-94 win over Atlanta.
The loss left the Hawks with only a half-game lead on New Jersey for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Ben Gordon tallied 16 points, and Kirk Hinrich had 14 points and 10 assists for the Bulls, who snapped a two-game skid.
Despite being within two games of the Hawks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Chicago is also a half-game behind Indiana and 1 1/2 in back of New Jersey. The Bulls will have an opportunity to gain ground this week though, with a game at Philadelphia on Wednesday and a contest in Atlanta Friday.
"In a game against a team ahead of us, we needed to win on our home floor," Hinrich said. "When they started to make their run early in the fourth quarter, I thought we did a much better job today keeping our composure."
Helping the Bulls is the fact they've won 13 of their last 14 matchups with the Hawks.
"We live to fight another day," Bulls coach Jim Boylan said. "It was a huge win for us. For us, it was a team effort."
Josh Childress came off the bench for 22 points to lead the Hawks, who have lost two of three following a three-game victory streak. Atlanta, which just finished playing four of five games on the road, will head back to Philips Arena for a stretch of five home contests over its next six games. It starts Wednesday versus Milwaukee.
"We cannot lose two games in a row now," Childress said. "We just have to regroup and come out tomorrow and play aggressive. Every game counts now for that playoff push."
The Hawks headed to the locker room with a 53-51 edge at the half, thanks to Mike Bibby's three-pointer in the final minute. However, the Bulls used a 20-4 flurry in the third to take a commanding 75-59 advantage. Luol Deng began the burst with a jumper, and Joakim Noah played a pivotal role with an alley-oop layup and a jam. Hinrich nailed a shot from beyond the arc, and Gooden's three-point play capped the rally with 3:15 left in the period.
The Hawks trailed 79-67 going into the fourth, but came back to get within two points as Bibby's three made it 87-85 with 6:18 remaining. However, Noah countered with a three-point play and Gordon nailed a jumper for a seven-point difference.
The Hawks were able to get within 92-89, but pulled no closer. A Gooden layup and Gordon's three-pointer extended the margin to 97-90 with 1 1/2 minutes left.
Deng had 14 points and Noah 13, as the Bulls made all 16 of their foul shots and went 5-of-6 from three-point range.
Bibby scored 18, Josh Smith 16 and Joe Johnson 15 for the Hawks, who also got 10 points and nine boards from Marvin Williams.
"We just got too careless late in the game," Johnson said. "We couldn't get a late stop or make a key basket to really get back in it. That, plus the late- game turnovers really made the difference."
Gordon's three-pointer at the buzzer had Chicago within 30-26 after one quarter and it stayed tight throughout the second.
Al Horford had 13 rebounds for the Hawks, who shot 41.7 percent from the field...Chicago ended at 44.1 percent...Atlanta has lost eight of its last 10 road games...The Hawks are 1-10 in Tuesday games this season...Atlanta has lost seven straight at Chicago.
03/26 01:52:40 ET