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Reply To: NBA • Saturday Service Plays • 1/9/16

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Preview: Chicago At Atlanta

When: 5:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 9, 2016
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta Hawks broke out of an offensive slump in a big way on Thursday and will try to continue that surge against a better defense when they host the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. The Hawks crushed the Philadelphia 76ers 126-98 to snap a two-game slide as the offense clicked with a total of 36 assists.

The Bulls will provide a much stiffer test after holding the Boston Celtics to 35.7 percent from the floor in running their winning streak to six straight on Thursday. Chicago is coming together after an inconsistent start to the campaign and will get a chance to show the improvement is real as they begin a stretch of 13 of 17 on the road with Atlanta. The Hawks’ offense comes and goes of late but was in top form on Thursday, when they scored 33 fast-break points and shot 53.3 percent from the field. Atlanta had dropped three of the previous four games while trying to figure out how to deploy its three point guards.

TV: 5 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN Southeast (Atlanta)

ABOUT THE BULLS (22-12): Chicago is still missing center Joakim Noah, but Pau Gasol does not seem to need any help in the middle. Gasol delivered 17 points and 18 rebounds in the win over the Celtics on Thursday and posted a double-double in each of the last three games. Gasol is getting plenty of support from Jimmy Butler, who matched his career high of 10 assists in each of the last two games and is averaging 28.8 points over the last five.

ABOUT THE HAWKS (22-15): Atlanta starting point guard Jeff Teague is averaging 3.8 assists and 3.2 turnovers in the last five games and was limited to 23 or fewer minutes in each of the last three contests. Backup Dennis Schroder was held out of games at Houston and New York as the team took a look at Shelvin Mack in the backup role, but came back in the last two games. Schroder responded with totals of 21 points and 14 assists in 44 minutes in those two contests.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Noah is not making the trip but could return as soon as next week.

2. Hawks G/F Kent Bazemore is averaging 20.3 points over the last four games.

3. Atlanta took two of the three meetings last season.

PREDICTION: Hawks 106, Bulls 102