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Bulls At Hawks Score: Slow Start Puts Atlanta Behind 28-19 Through One Frame

The Atlanta Hawks knew that life without Josh Smith would be especially challenging against the Chicago Bulls. No one could have fathomed that it would be this difficult.

Atlanta failed to score a bucket on their first nine trips down the floor as the Bulls used a 14-0 run to start the game and take a 28-19 lead after one quarter at the Highlight Factory.

Smith, who injured sprained the MCL in his right knee in Monday's 100-90 loss to the Denver Nuggets, was unavailable on Wednesday night while undergoing an MRI on the injury. Without their defensive anchor, the Bulls took it right to the Hawks to start this one with Carlos Boozer setting the tone, dunking on Al Horford to start the game.

While the Bulls were able to do just about anything they wanted to inside and out, the Hawks struggled to find their shot, misfiring on their first seven field goals and turning the ball over three times before Joe Johnson finally got Atlanta on the board with a dunk with 7:13 left in the first quarter.

The Hawks whittled away the lead throughout the rest of the frame, cutting it to 22-17 on Jamal Crawford's three-point play with 1:23 left in the frame before Chicago responded by posting buckets on their next three possessions to finish out the frame.

Keith Bogans had eight points and Boozer added five for the Bulls, who also got a strong performance from Joakim Noah in the first frame. He finished with three points and five rebounds.

Crawford has seven off the bench and Noah's former Florida teammate Horford has six points for Atlanta, which shot 35-percent (9-for-26) from the field.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.