CHICAGO – Derrick Rose summed it up this way.
“They don’t have any super, super stars but they have very good players and they love playing with each other and it shows,” the Bulls point guard said of the Hawks following Saturday’s game.
The Bulls became the latest team steamrolled by the Hawks in a 107-99 defeat. The Hawks juggernaut continues as they won for the 12th straight time, both over and also on the road. This incredible run has reached 26 wins in the past 28 games. Seriously, the Hawks just won four road games in five nights – two against lower-level teams while resting starters and two against top-level teams in the Eastern Conference.
Here are my five observations from the latest of impressive victories:
1. The Hawks again led by double-digit points as they had a 15-point advantage during the game. They improved to 28-1 this season with holding a double-digit lead at any point during the game. What may have been overlooked is that the Bulls never led on their home court. The game was tied three times, the latest at 7-7 with 2:42 gone the first quarter. The Hawks took the lead for good on a Paul Millsap dunk 34 seconds later and never looked back. Once the Hawks took at double-digit lead, on a Kyle Korver 3-pointer 21 seconds into the second quarter, the Bulls never got closer than five points.
2. I pointed this out last night, the Hawks are 33-8 and now spend the next two weeks and seven games at home. The Hawks are 16-3 at Philips Arena. With the next home game being Monday’s Martin Luther King Day matinee one would expect a good crowd. As was pointed out to me, the Hawks could easily match last year's win total of 38 by the end of the month.
3. Al Horford continues to bring his game back to All-Star level. His mid-range game has been impressive – especially of late. He tied a season-high with 11 field goals (on 14 attempts) against the Bulls. That came a night after he made all eight attempts against the Raptors. In the past three games, Horford is 27 of 32 (.844) from the field.
4. Kyle Korver had another big night from 3-point range as he set a season-high with seven makes. Korver had made six 3-pointers three times this season. The sharpshooter finished with a game-high 24 points. On the season, Korver is shooting a league-best 53.6 percent from 3-point range, five percentage points better than second-place Courtney Lee. Korver is tied for the most 3-pointers made (125) while 11th in attempts (233). Korver said last night that a lot of his 3-pointers came in transition. When told some are starting to call such a shot a 3-point layup, he said: “It’s good to have balance (in transition). Guys are running for layups and I’m running for a 3. I’m better at the 3’s than the layups. I have to stick to my strengths.”
5. The Hawks have won both games with the Bulls this season. Each game, the Bulls played without Joakim Noah. Certainly his 7.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game would have helped the Bulls, but I’m not sure they would have made a difference in the outcome. The way the Hawks moved the ball, from where they scored and the way they played defense (13 forced turnovers, 10 steals), Noah may not have made a huge difference in the outcome.