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NBA: Bulls force Hawks into historically bad offensive showing

Chicago forward Luol Deng shoots around the reach of Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford during the Bulls' 97-58 victory Monday in Chicago.
Chicago forward Luol Deng shoots around the reach of Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford during the Bulls' 97-58 victory Monday in Chicago.

The Bulls finally found a cure for their home woes: play a team that produces historically bad offensive basketball.

The Hawks scored the fewest regular-season points ever against the Bulls and narrowly avoided the lowest opponent field-goal percentage in the Bulls’ 97-58 cakewalk, which pushed their United Center record to 11-10.

At least for one night, bad memories of home losses to the Hornets, Bobcats and Suns got pushed back in the memory bank.

“We have a pretty serious-minded team,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We spent some time analyzing why we have home losses. But it’s important not to focus on the past, and our team did that.”

The Hawks, who have lost five straight road games, used a late rally to shoot 29.3 percent and tied another Bulls opponent low with five points in the second quarter, during which they shot 9.5 percent.

The previous opponent regular-season low was 59 points, set by Orlando last season. Golden State shot 27.3 percent in February 2004.

The Hawks also set opponent lows with 20 first-half points and 20.5 percent first-half shooting.

The Hawks didn’t score in the second quarter until a tip-in by Al Horford with 5 minutes, 15 seconds remaining. They opened the second by missing 10 straight shots and committing six turnovers.

Spanning the first and second quarters, the Hawks scored four points in 13:22, the third and fourth points ending a 24-2 Bulls run.

“This was very, very embarrassing,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “We’ve lost all sense of team ball. We have lost our sense of trust.”

Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 20 points and 13 rebounds in just 13 minutes. That ran Boozer’s Eastern Conference-leading double-double total to 20, including eight in his last nine games. During that span, Boozer is averaging 21.1 points and 11.1 rebounds.

About the only excitement in the second half came when Kirk Hinrich had to be restrained by Joakim Noah after Devin Harris drew a flagrant-one foul for a body block that knocked Hinrich from high in the air to the ground. And brothers Jeff and Marquis Teague matched up against one another for the final 6 minutes.

Star of the game: Carlos Boozer, Bulls, 20 points, 13 rebounds in 13 minutes

Up next: Bulls at Raptors

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday

TV/Radio: CSN/1000 AM

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