CHICAGO — Forward Taj Gibson scored 24 points and center Joakim Noah collected his fourth career triple-double, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 100-85 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday at the United Center.
Gibson continued to shine while starting in place of injured forward Carlos Boozer. Gibson hit 12 of 19 shots from the field, adding 12 rebounds and five assists.
Noah piled up 19 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. He had six assists in the first quarter alone. Forward Mike Dunleavy added 15 points for Chicago (26-25), while guard D.J. Augustin scored 13.
Atlanta (25-25) lost its season-high fourth in a row and dropped a half-game behind the Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings. The Hawks visit the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, their last game before the All-Star break.
The Bulls started the night ranked last in the NBA in scoring at 92.1 points per game. For the second consecutive contest, though, they got off to a hot start.
Against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, the Bulls scored a season-high 34 points in the first quarter. On Tuesday against the Hawks, Chicago scored 33 in the opening quarter while shooting 58 percent from the field.
Atlanta trailed 11-9 midway through the first quarter, but Chicago knocked down 10 of its next 14 shots to build a 33-17 lead after one. The advantage grew to 25 with three minutes left in the first half.
The Hawks used a 14-2 run to close within 78-70 on a 3-pointer by guard Lou Williams with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Bulls went back up by 15 points before another Atlanta run closed the gap to 87-79 on forward Mike Scott’s 3-pointer with 8:47 remaining. Trailing by eight, the Hawks missed three chances to get closer. Chicago then dropped in three consecutive baskets, two by Gibson, to boost the lead to 93-79.
Atlanta finally ended a five-minute scoreless streak with guard Kyle Korver’s technical free throw. Hawks guard Jeff Teague was given a flagrant foul with 3:21 left for wrapping up Gibson on a layup attempt. Gibson fell to the ground and grabbed Teague’s leg in retaliation, earning the technical.
Forward Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 15 points, while Williams scored 13 and Teague added 12.
Chicago played its first game at the United Center in more than two weeks. The Bulls just completed a six-game Western road trip with a respectable 3-3 record.
NOTES: Atlanta signed F Cartier Martin to a second 10-day contract Tuesday. Martin has spent the majority of the season with the Hawks, except for when he signed two 10-day contracts in January with Chicago. “I think he’s somebody that’s doing a lot of the things we’re emphasizing,” Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said of Martin. “He competes defensively. He gets after it on the defensive boards. He can space the court and make shots.” Martin scored three points in five minutes Tuesday night. … Bulls F Carlos Boozer missed his third consecutive game with a calf strain. … Hawks G Kyle Korver stretched his NBA record streak of consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer to 119 by sinking his second attempt of the night early in the second quarter.
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