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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 22nd (All times eastern)

Chicago Bulls (15-10) at Atlanta Hawks (15-9), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls are coming off a hard-fought victory in New York City and they'll take aim at a third straight win on Saturday when they visit the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.

The Bulls have won four of their last five and were able to post a 110-106 road victory over the New York Knicks on Friday. Chicago led the contest 83-61 through 36 minutes before the home team made a game of it in the fourth quarter. Still, Chicago never trailed against the Atlantic Division leaders as it improved to 7-4 on the road this season.

Friday's game at Madison Square Garden was a physical one that featured a combined 50 personal fouls, nine technicals and four fourth-quarter ejections. Two of the ejections came when Chicago's Joakim Noah and New York's Tyson Chandler nearly came to blows.

Noah totaled 15 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, but was ejected for picking up his second technical foul after he got tangled up with Chandler.

"Things happen," said Noah. "But we won the basketball game. I wish that we wouldn't have gotten ejected, it was just two guys trying to go for a rebound, but unfortunately guys got ejected.

Luol Deng scored a team-high 29 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to help Chicago to its sixth win in its last seven tries against New York.

Following Saturday's contest, the Bulls will return home and prepare for Tuesday's Christmas evening battle against Houston.

The Hawks, meanwhile, will try to avoid their first three-game skid of the season when they host the Bulls on Saturday. Atlanta lost a home test to Oklahoma City on Wednesday and was dealt a 99-80 setback Friday night in Philadelphia.

Atlanta has lost two in a row one other time this season and the club hasn't dropped three straight since Feb. 18-22.

The Hawks were burned by Philadelphia's Evan Turner on Friday as he scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the 76ers to victory. Thaddeus Young added 18 points, 11 rebounds and five steals for the Sixers, who had lost five in a row before the win.

Josh Smith ended with 17 points and six boards for the Hawks, who have lost three of four. Kyle Korver added 11 points in the setback.

Atlanta's Lou Williams had 13 points against his former team. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Sixers, but signed with Atlanta in the offseason.

"I really didn't see this type of performance coming," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "The second half we didn't bring it. We are not a very good team if we don't play with energy."

The Hawks are kicking off a two-game homestand Saturday and they will play three of their next four at Philips Arena, where they are 8-5 this season.

Chicago claimed three of four meetings against the Hawks last season and has won five of the last six encounters overall. Atlanta has won seven of its last nine home tests against the Bulls.

12/22 10:41:14 ET