ATLANTA — Larry Drew knew why his Atlanta Hawks blew out the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, he just couldn't explain why they looked so different one night after being beaten handily in Philadelphia.
Al Horford had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and every Atlanta starter scored in double figures in a 92-75 win on Saturday. The Hawks (16-9) and Bulls (15-11) played role reversal from their performances on Friday night.
Atlanta looked nothing like the squad that lost 99-80 in Philadelphia, and Chicago didn't resemble the team that dominated the Knicks in a 110-106 win in New York.
Drew said several times that, "energy," enabled the Hawks to break a two-game losing streak. Trying to figure out how his team had so much of it Saturday and so little Friday was perplexing.
"I wish I had the answer to that, to be perfectly honest," Drew said after pushing his career record to 100-73. "I don't care what our strategy is, or what the game plan is. If we don't play with good energy we're not going to be successful.
"That's the thing that will have you pulling your hair out ... it was a complete opposite."
It took a while to see a difference in the teams. The Bulls led 21-17 after one quarter, and neither club scored for the first three-plus minutes.
Chicago led 31-28 before Atlanta took off on a 25-6 run over the final 6:58 of the second quarter to build a 53-37 lead by halftime. The Bulls never recovered.
From the middle of the second quarter, the Bulls looked as though they were emotionally gassed by the game in New York. The Bulls andKnicks combined for nine technical fouls and four ejections in that one.
Luol Deng paced Chicago with 11 points, and Joakim Noah - who was ejected on Friday <0x2014> had 10, but they were the only Bulls to score in double figures. Atlanta starters outscored Chicago starters 72-39.
The Bulls were outrebounded 45-31.
"Tough loss. The highs and lows of this thing are unbelievable," Noah said. "One night you feel great because you won a big game, and then the next night you come out with the wrong mindset and you lose. Our energy was bad."
In his first start for the Hawks, guard Lou Williams scored 11 of his 16 points in the second quarter, when Horford added 10. Atlanta held Chicago without a fastbreak point in the first half.
HEAT 105, JAZZ 89
In Miami, LeBron James scored 30 points, Dwyane Wade added 21 points and seven assists, and the Heat rode the strength of a big third-quarter run to beat Utah.
James added nine rebounds and seven assists for the Eastern Conference-leading Heat, who won their fourth consecutive game and next play on Christmas against Oklahoma City in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals.
ROCKETS 121, GRIZZLIES 96
In Houston, James Harden scored 31 points with eight assists, and the Rockets earned their third consecutive win.
PISTONS 96, WIZARDS 87
In Washington, Charlie Villanueva scored 19 points, Rodney Stuckey added 18 and Detroit got its second win in as many nights over the Wizards.
PACERS 81, HORNETS 75
In New Orleans, David West scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and Indiana overcame a 22-point deficit to beat the Hornets, who have lost 11 in a row.
CAVALIERS 94, BUCKS 82
In Milwaukee, Dion Waiters scored 18 points and Cleveland snapped a six-game losing streak with a victory over Milwaukee.
LAKERS: Steve Nash was scheduled to start for Los Angeles against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night after missing 24 games because of a small fracture in his lower left leg.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said before the game that Nash would have no minutes limit.
The 38-year-old was injured in the second game of the season, the former Phoenix star’s first with the Lakers.