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Bulls beat Hawks 93-76 with 3 starters held out

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Bulls beat Hawks 93-76 with 3 starters held out

ATLANTA (AP) Luol Deng had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and the short-handed Chicago Bulls used their stifling defense to shut down the Atlanta Hawks in a 93-76 victory on Saturday night.

Playing without injured starters Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, Chicago dominated near the basket and got a lift from the frenetic play of Nate Robinson. The Bulls used only eight players for the second straight night, but it was more than enough for an impressive road win.

Taj Gibson had 19 points and matched his career high with 18 rebounds. Jimmy Butler added another double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Robinson went 4 for 6 from 3-point range and finished with 20 points.

Josh Smith led Atlanta with 19 points and 13 rebounds but he scored only three points in the second half. Jeff Teague scored 16, and Al Horford had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Hinrich had a procedure in Chicago on Saturday to have an infection cleaned out of his right elbow. Hinrich is expected to miss about a week.

Noah was held out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Boozer participated in pregame wamups but was not in uniform due to a right hamstring injury.

The lack of depth didn't hurt Chicago's defense. The Bulls, who held Atlanta to 20 first-half points in a 97-58 win on Jan. 14 in Chicago, again frustrated the Hawks.

Atlanta made only 6 of 19 3-point attempts and shot 39.2 percent from the field overall.

The Hawks also were less than full strength. Guard Devin Harris was in uniform but did not play due to a sore left foot. Backup center Zaza Pachulia was held out with a sore right Achilles.

Atlanta had a scare when Teague left in the first quarter with a right hip contusion. He returned in the second quarter and started the second half.

The Hawks led 44-43 at halftime, thanks to a jam by Smith following a DeShawn Stevenson steal. The Bulls scored the first eight points of the third and closed the period with six unanswered points to lead 69-60 entering the final period.

Marco Belinelli's jumper pushed the Bulls' lead to double figures for the first time at 72-62. Deng's 3-pointer ran the lead to 11, prompting Hawks coach Larry Drew to call a timeout with 7:41 remaining.

The Bulls continued to pull away with 3s by Deng and Butler after the timeout.

NOTES: Hawks G Anthony Morrow made his first appearance since Dec. 28. He had been out with a sore lower back. ... The Hawks signed G Jannero Pargo to a second 10-day contract. Pargo missed each of his six shots from the field, including four 3-pointers. ... DeShawn Stevenson, the fill-in starter for Harris, scored only two points while making one of six shots. ... The Bulls had a 53-45 edge in rebounds.

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Wizards at Cavs: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Cavs: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle LeBron James, George Hill, Larry Nance, Jr. and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Where: Quicken Loans Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT (pre- and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Washington Plus)
Live stream: TNTdrama.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Back in action

The Wizards return to the court after a week-long layoff due to the All-Star break. Add in the fact that they had three days off before their last game and this will be just the second game for the Wizards in the last 12 days. What is this, football?

The Wizards will try to overcome the rust to keep their momentum going. They entered the All-Star break having won seven of their last nine games. Though the time off was needed due to a wide array of injuries, the Wizards had a good thing going and will aim to recapture that against a good Cavs team.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Tough stretch

The Wizards come back with a game against the Cavs, a difficult first assignment after such a long layoff. But this is just the beginning of what will be a very difficult part of their schedule. In their next 17 games, the Wizards will play 15 times against teams currently holding playoff spots. That includes the Warriors, Celtics, Spurs and Raptors.

The schedule is tough beyond their opponents. Four times in the next three weeks they will play back-to-back games and they have five games in the next seven nights. Hopefully the players recharged their batteries because it won't be easy.

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

New-look Cavs

The Wizards and Cavs have played twice this season already and Cleveland took both of those matchups. However, that was all before the trade deadline when the Cavs overhauled their roster. They have won all three of their games since and look rejuvenated with younger players.

Now surrounding LeBron James are a host of new faces like George HIll, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. It will be interesting to see how the Wizards match up with this new group.

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Bradley Beal thoroughly impressed by LeBron James after being his teammate at All-Star Game

Bradley Beal thoroughly impressed by LeBron James after being his teammate at All-Star Game

As a member of the Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal has had many battles with LeBron James over the years, first with the Miami Heat and now with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over the weekend, Beal got to experience having James as a teammate for the first time at the All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

It was an eye-opening endeavor. Beal got to see up close and personal James' abilities and his routine to maximize them. In a group of the best players on the planet, James stood out.

"It was surreal at first, just being around all the guys," Beal said. "Even just being on his team for two days, that was an unbelievable experience."

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Beal, 24, is six seasons in to his NBA career and from experience has learned how to train for the rigors of an 82-game regular season. What James does at 33 years old to stay in peak form, however, is next level.

"To see his preparation, his focus and his mentality and what he does to take care of his body before and after games," Beal said. "That's the true testament to a Hall of Famer and one of the best to ever play the game."

James actually assisted Beal's first points in the All-Star Game, a two-handed dunk in the first quarter. James attacked the rim on a fastbreak to draw attention, then found Beal with a dump-off pass for an easy bucket.

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

It was an example of James' tricks of the trade. He is not just the most athletic player on the court, he is also the smartest when it comes to the game of basketball.

"His approach and his leadership and everything, it's top notch. It's crazy because you always play against him and to play with him, you get experience the other side of it," Beal said.

Beal, however, did note that much of what he gleaned from James was by watching him. At the end of the day, they are competitors and James isn't going to give away all of his secrets.

"He's not disclosing that information," Beal joked.

The Wizards happen to play James and the Cavs in their first game back from the All-Star break on Thursday night. Once again, Beal will be on the other side. 

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