Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now

Atlanta at Chicago

Horford scores career-high 27 points as Hawks remain unbeaten

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

CHICAGO -- Al Horford was everywhere. Grabbing rebounds, running the floor, picking up loose balls and scoring from the inside. It was the best performance of his career, an effort that kept the Atlanta Hawks unbeaten through six games.

On a night when leading scorer Joe Johnson had trouble with his shot, Horford scored a career-high 27 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked six shots to lead a 113-108 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.

Atlanta's start is its best since the 1997-98 Hawks won their first 11 games.

"It shows how deep this team is and we're all unselfish," Horford said. "Not every night is going to be Joe this year like it was previously. Now he has a supporting cast."

And a good one.

Mike Bibby added 22 points, hitting three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to fend off a Bulls rally. The Hawks had six players in double figures, including Johnson, who finished with 17 -- eight below his average. He shot 4-for-16.

Atlanta got a lift off the bench from Maurice Evans, who scored 17 points including two late 3-pointers in the final quarter.

The Hawks made the most of their transition game, beating the Bulls up the floor.

"We knew they were a running team, and coach just said to run right back at them and they weren't getting back, so we were getting easy points," Horford said.

"Our defense was terrible," Chicago's Luol Deng said. "We did a poor job picking up guys in transition. We didn't help each other."

Rookie Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 26 points to match his career high and had a career-best 10 rebounds and stayed in the game, despite pulling a muscle in his back in the first quarter. Andres Nocioni chipped in 20 points.

The Bulls played without Kirk Hinrich (thumb surgery), Larry Hughes (shoulder) and Drew Gooden (ankle). Atlanta was without Josh Smith (ankle).

Johnson, averaging 25.2 points, struggled with his shot, missing eight of his first 10 shots. But the Hawks got 16 first-half points from Horford and 10 from Zaza Pachulia to take a 55-52 halftime lead.

Horford outplayed Joakim Noah, his former University of Florida teammate on two NCAA championship teams, by using his strength and leaping ability on the inside. Noah finished with two points and eight rebounds.

"He plays a lot of defense. He ran the floor well and got a lot of baskets in transition. He wasn't doing anything he doesn't do," Noah said. "He was playing within his game and things went his way. ... His numbers were incredible tonight. He really controlled the game."

Atlanta expanded the lead to 75-63 late in the third quarter with a quick 8-0 run capped by Horford's dunk. The Hawks had a 10-point lead entering the fourth quarter before the Bulls rallied.

Nocioni took a nice pass from Noah for a layup and Deng's dunk and two free throws seconds later brought the Bulls to 85-83 with about 10 minutes left.

But two free throws by Marvin Williams and then consecutive 3-pointers from Bibby following Bulls' turnovers quickly re-established a 10-point lead for Atlanta. The Hawks then held on with Evans' two 3-pointers keeping the Bulls at bay.

"No one expected it but us," Bibby said of the 6-0 start. "The only people who can stop us is ourselves."

Noah got his first start of the season for the Bulls in place of Gooden, and Ben Gordon his second start in the Bulls' thin backcourt. Gordon and Deng finished with 19 points each.

Notes

  • Hinrich underwent surgery on a torn ligament in his right thumb Tuesday and could be out as long as three months.
  • Evans shot 7-for-9, including 3-of-4 on 3-pointers.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
It's a big night for Al Horford, who drops a career-high 27 points and tallies 17 boards.  (Getty Images)
It's a big night for Al Horford, who drops a career-high 27 points and tallies 17 boards. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Atlanta (6-0) «26292929113
Chicago (3-5) 22302234108
ATL:A. Horford 27 Pts
ATL:A. Horford 17 Reb
ATL:J. Johnson 8 Ast
CHI:D. Rose 26 Pts
CHI:L. Deng 10 Reb
CHI:D. Rose 6 Ast
Players of the Game
ChicagoAtlanta

D. Rose

A. Horford
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
2610627173
Atlanta
J. Johnson, SG424-169-1138217
A. Horford, PF419-189-13173227
M. Bibby, PG369-180-035322
M. Williams, SF305-93-441213
Z. Pachulia, C264-64-483212
M. Evans, SF267-90-050417
R. Murray, PG221-53-42225
A. Law, PG80-10-00010
S. Jones, PF60-10-02100
O. Hunter, SF20-00-00000
S. Claxton, PGDid Not Play
J. Smith, SFDid Not Play
R. Morris, CDid Not Play
T. Gardner, SGDid Not Play
M. West, SGDid Not Play
Totals 39-8328-36442318113
 47.0%77.8% 
Chicago
D. Rose, PG429-178-9106026
B. Gordon, SG408-202-344419
L. Deng, SF367-135-6102019
J. Noah, PF281-30-08242
T. Thomas, PF211-81-25133
A. Nocioni, SF318-180-142520
T. Sefolosha, SG245-92-213213
A. Gray, C183-60-210056
L. Hughes, SGDid Not Play
M. Ruffin, CDid Not Play
D. Gooden, PFDid Not Play
K. Hinrich, PGDid Not Play
C. Simmons, SFDid Not Play
D. Nichols, SFDid Not Play
Totals 42-9418-25522023108
 44.7%72.0% 
Other Games
Mil 93 Final
Cle 99
Utah 93 Final
Phi 80
Den 88 Final
Char 80
LAL 106 Final
Dal 99
NY 80 Final
SA 92
Det 100 Final
Sac 92
Min 110 Final
GS 113