CHICAGO — The Hawks will again face a Joakim Noah-less Bulls team. The center will not play in Saturday night’s game after suffering a right ankle sprain this week. The team’s injury report also lists him with a left hand injury.
Noah did not play in the Hawks’ 93-86 win over the Bulls Dec. 15 in Atlanta.
The Hawks will go with their normal starting lineup on the second of back-to-back games. According to coach Mike Budenholzer, Pero Antic will be inactive. There is no injury just rest.
In other items:
* Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau continued to rave about the Hawks and spoke highly of Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and Al Horford. He pointed to two, of many, reasons for the Hawks success this year – the return of a healthy Horford and the bench depth created by the acquisitions of Thabo Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore.
* I asked Thibodeau, since he spoke such of several Hawks, who would get his All-Star vote.
“That is a tough call,” he said. “That’s what makes it difficult. To me, the big thing is when you look at their record. They all have made a major contribution to winning. To me, that is important. It’s going to be tough in the end but they certainly have three or four guys who are very deserving.
“I think as coaches we all tend to when things are close go to the team that has won the most. They’ve got a very, very good team.”
So, maybe the Hawks do get two reserves.
* Budenholzer was once again surrounded by a crowd of reporters being asked about the Hawks’ success. The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson asked Budenholzer if he was having fun with all the winning and whether there was time to enjoy it or was he too focused on the next game.
“It’s an interesting word,” Budenholzer said. “Hopefully with our guys, and all of us, there is a balance. I think our group works hard but I think our group enjoys each other, enjoys competing and all the things that go into being part of a team. There is a lot of satisfaction with the work and satisfaction with the improvement and being around each other every day. The group laughs. The group has a good time but when it’s to get serious, when it’s time to be on the court, they more often than not they do it. We are not going to the coal mine every day, that is for sure.”