Chicago at Atlanta

Augustin gives Bulls spark; Hawks fall below playoff line

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ATLANTA -- The Chicago Bulls strengthened their hold on home-court advantage in the playoffs, and made it a little tougher for the Atlanta Hawks to extend their season.

For that, the Bulls can thank D.J. Augustin.

Again.

Keeping up his inspired play, Augustin scored 23 points as Chicago held off slumping Atlanta for a 105-92 victory Wednesday night, bumping the Hawks out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two weeks left in the season.

Chicago stretched its lead to 2½ games over Brooklyn for home court in the opening round of the playoffs. The Bulls might have lost Derrick Rose to major knee injuries two years in a row, but they are 35-20 since signing Augustin in mid-December.

"He's saved our season," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "D.J. can beat you a lot of different ways."

The performance came three days after Augustin scored a career-high 33 points against Boston.

"D-Rose is the face of this team," Augustin said. "I'm just trying to come in, just trying to help us out, do whatever I can do to help us win and go forward in the playoffs."

Chicago took control with a 16-3 run in the second quarter and led the rest of the way, fending off the last of Atlanta's runs when Jimmy Butler swished a 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining.

"We just want to finish the rest of the season strong," Augustin said.

The Hawks are heading in the opposite direction, losing for the 21st time in 28 games. This one dropped them slightly behind New York for the eighth playoff seed.

"We still control our own destiny," DeMarre Carroll said. "But now things got more interesting."

The Knicks (33-43) routed Brooklyn 110-81 to climb percentage points ahead of Atlanta (32-42). Cleveland is also in the mix, two games out after beating Orlando. The Hawks host the Cavaliers on Friday night.

Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Jeff Teague added 21 points. But Kyle Korver, with 12 points, was the only other Atlanta player in double figures.

Everyone else went 13 for 32 from the field.

"We're a new team," Carroll said, referring to Atlanta's massive turnover the last two summers. "This year is not going to make or break us. Just to be talking about making the playoffs is amazing."

The Hawks were up 42-38 with 9 minutes left in the second quarter after Mike Muscala knocked down a couple of free throws.

Chicago took control from there, clamping down defensively and scoring 16 of the next 19 points. The Hawks missed 12 of 13 shots, forced to settle mostly for outside jumpers and botching a couple of easy ones when they did get inside. Augustin capped the spurt with a brilliant hesitation move, freezing the Atlanta defenders before bursting through a gap for an easy layup.

The Bulls led 57-49 at the half and never surrendered the advantage.

Atlanta made several runs, only to have Chicago answer every one of them. With the Hawks down 93-87 and in possession, Taj Gibson swatted away Carroll's driving shot, the Bulls grabbed a loose ball and took off the other way, with Augustin sinking a 3-pointer that led to an Atlanta timeout.

It was another trey by Butler that finished off the Hawks -- appropriate enough, since the Bulls went 12 of 25 beyond the arc. Augustin was 4 of 8 from long range, while Butler chipped in with three more.

In contrast to the Hawks, six players were in double figures for the Bulls, including Butler and Kirk Hinrich with 17 points apiece.

Atlanta has eight games left to pull out its seventh consecutive playoff appearance.

"This team is competitive," Elton Brand said. "There's no quit in us. We're going to play it out until the end."

Notes

Chicago's Joakim Noah had 10 points and 10 rebounds. ... The Bulls swept the season series 4-0 and now have won six straight against the Hawks since last season. ... Thibodeau shrugged off the 200th career victory. "I've got a good team," he said after improving his record to 200-105 in four seasons.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
A rather animated Carlos Boozer (left) celebrates his dunk during the second half with Taj Gibson.  (USATSI)
A rather animated Carlos Boozer (left) celebrates his dunk during the second half with Taj Gibson. (USATSI)

Scoreboard
Chicago (43-32) «31262127105
Atlanta (32-42)3118232092
CHI:D. Augustin 23 Pts
CHI:J. Noah 10 Reb
CHI:K. Hinrich 6 Ast
ATL:P. Millsap 22 Pts
ATL:P. Millsap 11 Reb
ATL:J. Teague 8 Ast
Players of the Game
ChicagoAtlanta

D.J. Augustin

Paul Millsap
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
231522113
Chicago
J. Butler, SG416-162-222217
J. Noah, C385-100-0106410
M. Dunleavy, SF312-32-22338
K. Hinrich, PG317-132-236117
C. Boozer, PF245-82-362112
D. Augustin, PG288-153-415323
T. Gibson, PF284-92-272210
T. Snell, SG132-30-03126
N. Mohammed, C61-10-03012
J. Fredette, PGDid Not Play
D. Rose, PGDid Not Play
T. Shengelia, SFDid Not Play
E. Murphy, PFDid Not Play
Totals 40-7813-15372719105
 51.3%86.7% 
Atlanta
P. Millsap, PF378-175-7113322
D. Carroll, SF363-82-36328
J. Teague, PG357-144-528221
K. Korver, SG344-90-041012
P. Antic, C100-20-01120
E. Brand, PF264-50-05338
L. Williams, SG211-44-52516
D. Schroder, PG132-51-21035
M. Muscala, C122-44-43008
M. Scott, PF111-30-03012
S. Mack, PG50-10-00000
A. Horford, CDid Not Play
C. Martin, SFDid Not Play
G. Ayon, PFDid Not Play
J. Jenkins, SGDid Not Play
Totals 32-7220-2638241792
 44.4%76.9% 
Other Games
Det 94 Final
Ind 101
Brook 81 Final
NY 110
Cle 119 Final
Orl 98
Char 123 Final
Phi 93
Bos 92 Final
Wash 118
Hou 103 Final
Tor 107
Mil 77 Final
Mia 96
Mem 88 Final
Min 102
GS 90 Final
SA 111
NO 107 Final
Den 137
LAC 112 Final
Pho 108
LAL 102 Final
Sac 107