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.

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from a busy Sunday: 

Tonight on CSN: Blackhawks look to bounce back vs. Lightning

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Today on CSN: White Sox battle Dodgers in spring training game

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

Joe Maddon doesn’t have any concerns about new Cubs closer Wade Davis

Nick Delmonico takes advantage of fresh start with White Sox

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

Owners to consider on and off field changes this week during NFL meetings

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue break down the Bulls' upcoming schedule in the latest edition of the Bulls Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.

TNT Bulls are back this week as the team heads into a crucial stretch. 

Currently, the Bulls sit half a game back of the Miami Heat for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and with just eight games remaining on the schedule, each contest is essentially a must-win. 

So, yes, Thursday would be a great time for Jimmy Butler and company to summon their TNT alter ego. The Bulls have sealed 18 straight victories when playing on TNT Thursday, an improbable feat considering those games are usually reserved for two of the NBA's best. 

To continue that run, they'll have to down Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are also fighting for playoff positioning -- albeit at the top of the conference. Good thing the Bulls have a tendency to get up for big games. 

"The Bulls play up and down to their competition," Bulls Pregame and Postgame analyst Kendall Gill said. "They've been doing that the whole season." 

After Cleveland, the Bulls get set to battle another playoff squad, the Atlanta Hawks. 

Watch the video above to see Schanowski, Gill and Perdue break down the matchups.