The Chicago Bulls have been playing a little bit better in recent weeks. They won their first game of the New Year against the Boston Celtics and played with a chip on their shoulders. They must continue to ride that momentum and play with that edge against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Bulls coming into the game against the Hawks have won four of their last six games. They have worked their way back into the playoff picture in the depleted Eastern Conference. It’s not saying much because the conference is in such shambles, but the Bulls are talented enough to make some noise in the East.
The Hawks present the Bulls with some problems, even without their All-Star Al Horford, who is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. The Hawks still have balance on the roster with good players like Paul Milsap and Jeff Teague. Former Bull Kyle Korver is a lethal three-point shooter that must be accounted for at all times.
This game should go in the Bulls’ favor because Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer (though he’s a game-time decision with a sore knee) will be able to pound the Hawks inside. The Bulls guards, Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler and D.J. Augustin, will need to penetrate at will to soften up the Hawks’ defense. And history is on the Bulls’ side as they have won four of the last five games against the Hawks.
The United Center in Chicago is the place to be for this game. The Hawks are one of three teams that are above .500 in the East. The Bulls will have to climb the ladder to get past the Hawks and continue to play with an edge and some nastiness.