Atlanta, Georgia: Britain’s Luol Deng scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to help power the injury-depleted Chicago Bulls to a 93-76 rout of the Atlanta Hawks in an NBA game on Saturday.
Chicago’s defense kept the Hawks to only 16 points in each of the final two quarters, Atlanta hitting only 39 per cent from the field, as the Bulls improved to 29-18 and remained ahead of Indiana atop the Central division.
Nate Robinson contributed 20 points and a game-high eight assists, while Taj Gibson, starting in place of injured Carlos Boozer, scored 19 points and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds. Jimmy Butler added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Robinson was starting for guard Kirk Hinrich, who has an infected right elbow. Boozer is sidelined with a sore right hamstring, while standout centre Joakim Noah has been sidelined with a sore right foot. Superstar guard Derrick Rose is still absent because of a knee injury suffered in the first game of last season’s playoffs.
The Hawks, led by 19 points and 13 rebounds from Josh Smith, slid to 26-20, falling further behind Southeast division leader and defending NBA champion Miami.
Tim Duncan’s return to NBA action on Saturday didn’t last long as the San Antonio Spurs star departed in the second quarter of a 96-86 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Duncan, who had missed four games with a sore left knee, sprained his right ankle and left knee in the second quarter when Washington forward Martell Webster ran into the back of Duncan’s legs fighting for a rebound. Duncan was left lying on the court clutching his troublesome left knee to the dismay of San Antonio fans.
He was helped off the court by two teammates then walked under his own power to the locker room. The severity of the injury was not immediately known.
Tony Parker had a double-double with 19 points and 12 assists for San Antonio, who will begin an 18-day, nine-game road trip on Wednesday.