Derrick Rose promised that the next time his Chicago Bulls had a big lead against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena, there would be no way they'd blow it. The Bulls charged out to the early lead and behind the efforts of Rose, never looked back.
Rose posted a game-high 30 points and Luol Deng added 27 to lead the Bulls to a 114-81 whooping of the Hawks before a national TV audience on Tuesday night in Atlanta.
So much for that players' only meeting that Horford called a few days ago after embarrassing back-to-back losses to the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat. That message went in one ear and right out the other.
"I'm at a loss of words," Hawks coach Larry Drew said of yet another home drubbing. "When you are at home, you'd think the sense of urgency would be there more. You'd be jacked up. You'd play with more energy. We do the opposite. I'm at a loss for words. ... We haven't responded at home, like I think we should."
The Hawks didn't play defense. They didn't crash the basket for any sort of rebound. They didn't control the paint. No bench player had a point until the third quarter.
Yep, folks, Atlanta pretty much didn't do anything other than utterly embarrass themselves from sea-to-shining sea on TNT.
About the only positive for Atlanta is that the regular TNT studio crew was off, or Charles Barkley surely would have called the Atlanta performance "turrible."
Let me say it. This performance was beyond "turrible." It was pathetic, gutless, heartless and ugly. It was a performance fitting of the bottom-feeder Sacramento Kings and not the team that's supposed to secure the No. 5 seed in the East.
Atlanta was once in this ballgame. It was tied at 17-17 midway through the first before Chicago went for the jugular and stomped on it all night long. Chicago lead by 10 after one frame, 29 at the break and 38 through three. Chicago lead by as many as 47 in the fourth quarter before Atlanta "rallied" late.
Not many Hawks fans stood around for the end of this one. And predictably, the Bulls fans had their way with the place. Rose got his obligatory "MVP" chant in the second quarter -- you know that chant all the transplants bestow on that other guy when he visits Philips Arena -- be it Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.
Although Hilton Armstrong had the last laugh, stealing the ball from a lackadaisical Chicago team as the clock neared all zeros and threw up a 3-pointer to make the final margin 33 instead of 36.
The Bulls didn't like that too much. But that will show 'em! Not.
Otherwise, the Hawks are in pretty much in turmoil right now.
Zaza Pachulia and Drew were sniping at each other after Drew benched Zaza for taking an ill-advised 19-foot jumper midway through the fourth. Unfortunately, Zaza seems about the only one who cares when his team is getting pasted. The other guys haven't shown much of a heart.
"I told him I didn't want him taking that shot, " Drew said "In that situation we don't come down and make the first basket and wing it and shoot it to our five guy and he shoots an 18-foot jump shot. It's important, even in that situation, that you play the right way.
"You don't go your own way. You don't try to deviate away from what the team is expecting. You continue to play the right way. That shot was either a shot that saw he was about to come out of the game or he took a bad shot early in the clock. I told him that he took a bad shot. That was the end of that."
They better find it something in the next 24 hours, or they could begin a slide into the sixth spot with a loss to the surging Philadelphia 76ers.
About the only bright spot in this one was the play off Jeff Teague. He posted 20 points, but all in garbage time in the fourth quarter.