Nail-biters were in short supply during the past week as Atlanta
cruised to three consecutive wins by double-digit margins. But the
Hawks had no time to relax Monday as they held on in the final
minute for a 102-100 win over the Chicago Bulls.
"You want to feel the pressure a little bit, make some free throws
(down the stretch)," Budenholzer said. "It's good to find a way to
win on the road in a close game."
A balanced attack made the hard-fought win a reality for Atlanta.
Jeff Teague scored 26 points and dished out seven assists to lead
the Hawks. Paul Millsap scored 11 points, pulled down 11 rebounds
and blocked six shots. Al Horford matched Millsap's double-double
with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Atlanta (45-30) increased its winning streak to four games and
improved to 9-1 in its past 10 contests. The Hawks completed a
season sweep against the Bulls with a 4-0 record.
"It was a good test for our team," Horford said. "We didn't want it
to get to that point, but they started making shots late. They
pushed us. It's a positive."
Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 20 points on 8-for-25 shooting. Pau
Gasol scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Chicago (36-37) lost its fourth consecutive game and fell below .500
for the first time this season. The Bulls have lost 11 of 17 and
could miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08.
After trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half, the Bulls
rallied to even the score at 93 with 1:40 remaining. Aaron Brooks
hit a 3-pointer and banked in a layup to fuel the comeback.
Atlanta regained the lead on late free throws by Kent Bazemore,
Thabo Sefolosha and Teague. Jimmy Butler converted a four-point play
to pull the Bulls within 98-97 with 19.6 seconds to go, but the
Hawks held on to the lead thanks to four more free throws from Kyle
Korver and Teague.
Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said he appreciated his team's effort
late in the game.
"I was proud of them for fighting back from a double-digit deficit,"
Hoiberg said. "We were able to recover from our poor second quarter
and give ourselves a chance to win. We went down swinging, and that
is something that we talked about. Stick together and keep
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The Hawks entered the fourth quarter with an 80-71 advantage. Teague
scored 14 points on a series of driving layups during the third
quarter to help Atlanta increase its lead.
"He was great," Horford said of Teague. "The biggest thing is he
kept attacking the basket, he kept being aggressive. When Jeff plays
like that, it just makes us a different team."
Frustrations mounted as the Bulls struggled to gain momentum after
the break. Rose drew a rare technical foul for arguing about a
non-call with 5:07 left in the third quarter.
Rose said he needed to stay mentally strong despite low points in
the game and the season.
"We are still fighting, still trying to find our rhythm," Rose said.
"(We need to) be mentally strong. Even though we are going through a
rough time, (we need to) stay together and make sure everyone is on
the same page."
Atlanta erased a 13-point deficit during the second quarter to seize
a 52-45 lead at halftime. Horford made a pair of jump shots and a
layup as part of a 17-1 run that included 15 straight points by the
Hawks. Chicago missed 14 shots in a row and went 7:42 between field
goals during the run.
The Bulls scored the first eight points of the game and led 31-22 at
the end of the first quarter.
"That second quarter was probably the difference in the game,"
Budenholzer said. "We were able to close out a close game, even with
a couple mistakes."
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