Josh Smith was embarrassed at how easily the Atlanta Hawks let Derrick Rose dominate them earlier in the week.
That wasn’t the case against the Chicago Bulls star on Saturday night.
”We did a good team job on him defensively in crowding him, trapping him and showing him different looks,” Smith said after the Hawks held Rose to just eight point in a 109-94 win over the Bulls. ”We played sound defense on him.”
Smith scored 25 points, and Joe Johnson and Vladimir Radmanovic each added 17 as Atlanta ended Chicago’s six-game winning streak.
John Lucas III had 14 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter for Chicago, which never led. The Bulls, who dropped to 7-2, had been off to their best start since going 12-0 in 1996-97.
Rose, last season’s league MVP, had his lowest total since he scored six when the Bulls took a 17-point victory at Toronto on Dec. 15, 2010. He didn’t return to the game after leaving with 2:29 left in the third quarter.
”I give them credit,” Rose said. ”They played the way they’re supposed to. Our defense let them score easy baskets in transition.”
Both teams used mostly reserves in the fourth before Atlanta coach Larry Drew had starters Smith, Johnson and Al Horford enter the game for a few minutes late in the final period.
Kyle Korver finished with 13 points for the Bulls,while Carlos Boozer and Jimmy Butler each had 12. Omer Asik pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
The outcome was in stark contrast to last Tuesday at Chicago, where the Hawks blew a 19-point lead in the third quarter and allowed the Bulls to outscore them 34-18 during the final period in a 76-74 loss.
This time, there was no such ugly streak for Atlanta.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was disappointed in the lack of ball movement on offense.
”In this league you usually get what you deserve,” Thibodeau said. ”This is the NBA. You’ve got to come every night. The ball has to move. You’ve got to give their defense credit. They’re well balanced; they’re good on offense, they’re good on defense.”
The Hawks, who improved to 6-3, have won two straight. They were up 17 late in the first quarter before the Bulls came within two with 4:09 to go in the second on Boozer’s layup.
But Atlanta went on an 18-2 run, ending on Johnson’s 12-foot runner in the final seconds of the half, to lead by 18 at intermission.
”This one’s on the people that started the game,” Bulls center Joakim Noah said after scoring one point and pulling down four rebounds in 17 minutes. ”The second unit got it back to four. It was embarrassing tonight. We know them. We’ve beaten this team before.”
Jeff Teague’s dunk with 5:52 left in the third quarter gave the Hawks their biggest lead at 29.
Hawks forward Marvin Williams left the game midway through the first with a sore left ankle and did not return.
Drew gave Radmanovich a season-high 28 minutes, and the 6-foot-10 forward responded by going 5 for 5 on three-point attempts, handing out three assists and getting two steals.
Zaza Pachulia and Willie Green combined for 16 points and seven rebounds, but Drew credited the starters with providing the entire team with good energy early on.
”I thought we came out from the very beginning and played with a lot of emotion,” Drew said. ”I really thought we did a good job of just getting up and down the floor. We got some transition baskets. Defensively, we were on queue with everything we talked about.”
Much of those discussions centered on limiting the damage from Rose, who scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter last Tuesday and helped the Bulls win 97-83 Friday in Orlando with 21 points and 10 assists.
”We had to get up on the pick-and-rolls more,” said Teague, who was instructed to stay close to Rose. ”We sat back the first game, and he picked us apart. He made threes and did things, so we tried to get up on him a little more and let him see bodies. I think we did a pretty good job of that.”
NOTES: Horford finished with 14 points. … The Hawks hosted Chicago for the first time since the Bulls beat them 4-2 in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. … Atlanta SG Tracy McGrady went scoreless in eight minutes after sitting out Friday’s win at Charlotte with a bruised left knee. … Chicago G Richard Hamilton was in uniform, but missed his second straight game with a sore groin. … Bulls PG C.J. Watson is traveling with the team, but was sidelined for the fourth straight game with a dislocated left elbow. He’s no longer wearing a sling. … Smith missed his first six three-point attempts this season before hitting one to make it 48-43 in the second.