Derrick Rose's groin injury is the subject of national attention, but his Chicago Bulls (40-11) have the best record in the league entering Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Hawks (30-21).
With Atlanta coming off of a tough loss at Milwaukee on Tuesday night, the Hawks will be looking for redemption against a Bulls team that has beaten them two out of three times this season.
It will be intriguing to see how the two teams match up against one another, and Joe Johnson is going to have to come with a better performance than the 11 points (4-of-14 shooting) that we saw from him in Tuesday's deflating loss to the Bucks.
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
When: Wednesday, March 28, 7:30 p.m. ET
Watch: FOX Sports South (Atlanta), CSN Chicago (Chicago)
Live Stream: NBA League Pass
Listen: ESPN 1000 (Chicago), 680 The Fan (Atlanta)
Betting Line: Bulls -4, according to Bovada.lv
Key Injuries: Jannero Pargo (appendectomy), Al Horford (pectoral), Derrick Rose (groin), Richard Hamilton (shoulder)
What They're Saying
After a disheartening 17-point loss to the Denver Nuggets in Chicago's last contest, the Bulls will look to bounce back against the Hawks on Wednesday.
The team knew it didn't play up to par in a lopsided loss to a Nuggets team without Danilo Gallinari (thumb), and Tom Thibodeau will be sure that his message comes across loud and clear before his team takes the floor.
Luol Deng knows that the Bulls need to put forth a more complete effort against the Hawks, a team that has played much better than almost anyone expected without Horford in the lineup.
Here is what Deng had to say after the loss to the Nuggets (via Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago):
"We got to focus better throughout the whole game," Deng said. "I think things weren't going our way and we kind of just allowed it to happen, that's not what we do. We just got to get back. There's nights when you're not going to shoot well, but every night we've got to play hard.
Most Important Player to Watch: Jeff Teague
Teague has gone through ups and downs this season in his first year as the full-time starting point guard, but he's played much better recently than he had been early in March.
The Wake Forest product is averaging 16.5 points and 8.0 assists over his last two games, and Teague will need to bring another strong effort against the Bulls on Wednesday for the Hawks to have a shot at winning.
In the two previous losses to Chicago, Teague was a complete non-factor and managed just 13 points and five assists combined.
By comparison, the young point guard logged 12 points, eight assists and five steals in the Hawks' lone win over the Bulls this year.
Key Matchup: Josh Smith vs. Carlos Boozer
Smith has taken an All-Star snub in stride and is punishing the opposition in the process.
The athletic forward is averaging an absurd 23.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.5 blocks per game in the second half of the season, displaying exactly why the Hawks had no inclination to trade him prior to the deadline.
Boozer is going to have a tough time staying in front of Smith on the defensive side of the court, but he'll need to contribute on the offensive end for his team to fire on all cylinders.
Although he's had some solid games in March, Boozer has been extremely inconsistent and is averaging 15.6 points per game for the month. He'll need to score more than that against Smith and the Hawks for his team to find success without struggling.
Bulls 94, Hawks 84
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