Bulls

Bulls prepared to avoid repeat against Hawks

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Bulls prepared to avoid repeat against Hawks

After a frustration-filled loss to the Phoenix Suns last Saturday that dropped their home record to 10-10, the Bulls will try to turn things around tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.

The Bulls are ready to come out fighting after suffering a 17-point loss when the two teams met last month.

The situation was eerily similar to what happened with (last Saturdays loss to Phoenix), coach Tom Thibodeau said. The night before, we had beaten New York on the road and we went down. You cant be looking backwards in the league. You have to know exactly whats in front of you. We actually played well in the first quarter of the game, we were up four and we let our guard down and we got hurt in the second quarter. You have to be a 48 minute team.

Thibodeau and the players took individual and collective ownership after their poor showing at home against Phoenix, and while most may be concerned with the poor home record after being 62-12 in the Thibodeau era before this season the focus for the team centers on its approach to each game, whether viewed marquee or not.

Obviously were disappointed with (the home record), but I dont want it to change how we have to approach each and every day, Thibodeau said. You cant get caught looking backwards and not focusing on exactly whats in front of you right now, which is improvement, being ready to play and understanding how you win. Thats where I want our focus to be, on making the necessary steps that we need to make to improve so that we can be successful.

"I think when the result is not what you want it to be, there could be frustration that creeps in, he continued. I think its important to focus in on the necessary things that you have to do in order to win. Poise under pressure is very important, but making the necessary steps to correct how were playing is the most important thing right now.

Im concerned that were making some of the same mistakes that we made earlier in the year. I want the focus back on our improvement, day by day. I want us to understand how we win and the commitment necessary to win.

The Hawks sit one game ahead of the Bulls in the standings at 21-15, but have lost six of their last eight games.

It would seem a perfect opportunity for the Bulls to redeem themselves at home, but Thibodeau knows whats ahead of them.

Theyre one of the best teams in the East, Thibodeau said of Atlanta. They have a lot of weapons. They can break you down off penetration, their bigs are highly skilled, (Kyle) Korver gives them a great shooter that spreads the floor. He makes everyone on the team better because of the attention you have to give to him, that creates space for players. We have to be ready.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls take on Suns

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls take on Suns

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the Phoenix Suns Sunday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

1. Something's got to give

What's the opposite of an unstoppable force vs. an immovable object? That's what we'll be looking at when the Bulls have the ball in their hands. Chicago ranks dead last in offensive efficiency, while the Suns have the 2nd worst defensive efficiency in the NBA. That means the Bulls, after scoring a season-high 123 points against the Hornets, can build on that momentum against a Suns defense that allowed 90 points in the FIRST HALF to the Rockets on Thursday.

2. Kris Dunn for real?

Fresh off the best game of his young career - he scored 22 points in a win over the Hornets on Friday - Kris Dunn continues to look like the best point guard on the Bulls roster. He's going through a really solid stretch right now, averaging 13.2 points on 47 percent shooting, 4.2 assists and 2.6 steals over his last four games. With Eric Bledsoe out of Phoenix, Dunn could be in line for another big game going up against Mike James and Tyler Ulis, regardless of whether or not he starts over Jerian Grant.

3. Watch out for Devin Booker

We'll try to get an opponent in here once for every tune-in, and Devin Booker certainly fits the bill. Much like Dunn is doing, Booker is on quite a roll these days. Over his last four games Booker is averaging 30.5 points on 51 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists. The Bulls will need to keep their eyes on Booker at all times, especially after allowing Kemba Walker to go off for 47 points on Friday.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.