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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, February 20th (All times eastern)

Atlanta Hawks (21-31) at Chicago Bulls (29-25), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls return from the All- Star break and square off tonight at the United Center.

This is the third of four contests between the clubs this season. The Bulls won the two previous contests. Atlanta is scheduled to host Chicago on April 1st at Philips Arena.

The Bulls have won nine in a row in the series. Atlanta has lost four straight and six of its last seven at Chicago.

Chicago enters tonight's contest on a two-game losing streak. In fact, the Bulls struggled heading into the All-Star break, as they dropped five of their last six contests overall.

Ben Gordon is Chicago's leading scorer at 21.2 points per game, while Ben Wallace, who signed a lucrative, multi-year contract with Chicago last offseason, has grabbed a team-best 10.3 rebounds per contest. Kirk Hinrich has dished out a club-high 6.3 assists per game.

The Bulls, who will visit LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, are 20-7 at home this season. Chicago is tied with the Indiana Pacers for third place in the Central Division, 4 1/2 games behind division- leading Detroit.

Atlanta won three of its final four contests prior to the break. The Hawks are in fourth place in the Southeast Division, nine games behind the first-place Washington Wizards.

Joe Johnson, who was a reserve on the East squad in Sunday's All-Star Game, leads the Hawks in scoring (25.2 ppg). High flying Josh Smith has grabbed a team best 8.1 rebounds per game, while Speedy Claxton has handed out a club- high 4.7 assists per contest.

The Hawks are 12-16 on the road this season. They have won six of their last seven games away from home.

02/20 10:42:32 ET


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