(Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE)

Bulls Down Hawks 98-77, Magic Number 13

Bulls 98, Hawks 77 — FINAL

BULLS MAGIC NUMBER: 13

The Bulls won with ease in Atlanta 98-77, gaining a game on the Heat and making their magic number 13(Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE)

Well, the bi-polar trip through the minds of a Rose-less Bulls team continues. A night removed from a loss to the Nuggets, the Bulls headed down to Atlanta and proceeded to blow out the Hawks in spectacular fashion.

Luol Deng went berzerker on the Hawks with his three point game, hitting five of them and finishing the night with 22 in the 98-77 effort. Deng was one of four Bulls to hit double digit point totals and joined Carlos Boozer as the only Bull with 20-plus on the night.

“We played great,” Deng said. “Guys got easy looks because of the ball movement. The thing we did well is, even when they made their run, we responded right away. It was just a great team effort.”

Taj Gibson fell a point short of joining Deng and Boozer in the 20 point club, but his 19 was one of many brilliant performances off the bench for Chicago. Gibson and Omer Asik both ended the game with 6 rebounds a piece and John Lucas III added 10 to the impressive Bench Mob effort.

The Mob has been the x-factor in games thus far, as when they perform up to par, the Bulls usually are able to play with some slack. With Derrick Rose missing his sixth straight game, the production was very much needed.

Chicago began to run away with the game late, and the playoff aspirations of the Hawks and their frustration at being schooled by a Rose-less team boiled over. When Carlos Boozer flipped the ball to Taj Gibson who no doubt was going to go for the showboat slam dunk, Joe Johnson decided to try out for the Falcons open linebacker position and tackled Gibson to the floor.

No flagrant foul was called.

Perhaps the refs figured the booming “Let’s Go Bulls!” chants coming from the crowd in Atlanta — and the score — was punishment enough.

Atlanta was also held to just 8 of 21 shooting down the stretch, another factor that annoyed Johnson and the Hawks.

Chicago also out-rebounded the Hawks 45-36 and held them to just 40 percent shooting and 29 percent form beyond the arch. Chicago, on the other hand, shot almost 47 percent from the field and 56 percent from three point range.

“It’s been pretty remarkable, with all the guys that have gone down, to have the record that we do,” Kyle Korver said. “Obviously, we’d rather have Derrick playing. But guys keep stepping up.”

The stepping up is still a mystery. No one knows when it’s going to happen for this Rose-less team, yet when it does happen it’s not a surprise. As long as they can clot the bleeding, as they’ve been doing thus far, until Rose returns then everything should be fine. But the road gets bumpy in the upcoming days as the Bulls head out to the heart of the Midwest to battle the Thunder in what will be billed as a potential NBA Finals preview. After that the Bulls have crucial games against the Celtics, Knicks and Heat, all games the Bulls need to close out home court advantage in the East.

Next Three Games:

 DATE

 TEAM

 TIME

TV 

 3/30

Vs. Pistons

7pm

 CSN-C

 4/1

@Thunder

Noon

 ABC

 4/2

Vs. Rockets

 7pm

 NBA TV

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Wednesday, Oct 2929 Oct8:00at New York KnicksBuy Tickets

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