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Hawks use 20-4 run to crush Bulls, 118-83

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

ATLANTA -- Jamal Crawford and Atlanta's other backups gave the Hawks the lift the Chicago Bulls were missing.

Crawford scored a season-high 29 points and the Hawks opened the second half with a 20-4 run and beat the Bulls 118-83 on Wednesday night.

The Hawks led by 14 before pulling away with the big run.

"At halftime we told ourselves 'no letdown,"' said Atlanta's Josh Smith, who capped the decisive run with an alley-oop jam to push the lead to 30 points at 76-46 with 3:35 remaining in the third period.

"We didn't want them to come back and get some momentum," said Smith, who had 18 points.

Maurice Evans had 18 points as Atlanta's reserves outscored Chicago's backups 66-32. Rookie Jeff Teague had eight points and eight assists as 12 Atlanta players scored.

"We came out and took care of business from beginning to end," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "Everybody got a chance to play. It was a total team effort."

The Bulls, who have lost four straight and nine of 10, remained close only in the first period. Atlanta pushed its lead to double digits for good on a jam by Smith with 5:17 remaining in the first half.

Joakim Noah said he has "no idea" why the Bulls are struggling after winning four of their first six games.

"The way we started the season I thought there was definitely some optimism," said Noah, who had only two points but led the Bulls with 11 rebounds. "But I think we're definitely going through it right now as a team. We've just got to find a way to snap out of it."

Derrick Rose, who led Chicago with 19 points, said the loss "really hurts."

"Either you want it or you don't," Rose said. "Hustle, if you want it. Rebound. The score tonight speaks for itself. We're just not playing hard."

Taj Gibson, who had 11 points, was Chicago's only reserve to score in the first three periods. Each team played backups through most of the fourth period.

Backup forward James Johnson had 17 -- all in the final period -- and John Salmons added 16 for Chicago.

"They jumped on us early in the third quarter, and then we ended up playing catch-up," said Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro. "We didn't score well enough to play catch-up like that."

The Bulls shot a season-low 36.4 percent (28 for 77) from the field.

"It's not good. It's not good," Del Negro said. "But you know, the guys are working. ... It's frustrating but you've got to battle through it."

Noah said the Bulls "are not competing together at all."

"We really need to stick together," Noah said. "I think there's enough character on this team for us to turn this around. We've got to turn this around. We will."

Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams each had 12 points for Atlanta.

The Hawks have won two straight for the first time since a seven-game winning streak from Nov. 7-20.

The Bulls scored only two points off the Hawks' eight turnovers. Atlanta scored 22 points off Chicago's 19 turnovers.

Hawks backup forward Joe Smith dislocated his left thumb less than a minute into the fourth period. He was escorted to the locker room. X-rays were negative.

The Hawks led 56-42 at halftime before outscoring the Bulls 31-15 in the third period.

NOTES: Bulls G Kirk Hinrich returned after missing six games with a sprained left thumb. The guard had the thumb wrapped and struggled with his shooting. He missed each of his nine shots and was on the bench with ice on the thumb in the final minutes. ... Hawks C Jason Collins, playing in only his fifth game, hit a short jumper in the final minute for his first points of the season. He missed two free throws earlier in the final period.