Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is used to getting creative with his lineups, considering all the injuries the team has endured this season.
Monday was no exception, even though Derrick Rose returned from five games off with a back injury. Backup point guard C.J. Watson was sidelined with a possible concussion stemming from Saturday's collision with New Jersey's Kris Humphries.
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He expects to play Wednesday against Milwaukee.
So Mike James got the call to spell Rose against the Hawks. But with Kyle Korver in the midst of a 1-for-12 slump from 3-point range, Thibodeau went with 5-foot-11 John Lucas III at shooting guard for the entire fourth quarter.
Lucas paid dividends, scoring 8 points in the final quarter, including a clutch 3-pointer with 4:44 left after the Hawks closed within 80-75.
"I think Coach knows I'm going to score," Lucas said. "With Derrick out there, he's going to draw a lot of attention. It's just my job to knock down open shots, so it can take some of the pressure off him.
"I'm always into the game. I'm never drifting off. That's one thing Thibs always tells me. 'Stay in the game, no matter what, because you never know when you'll be put in.'"
Noah bounces back:
After going scoreless Saturday against New Jersey, center Joakim Noah bounced back with 16 rebounds in the win over Atlanta, while scoring 5 points.
"Jo was a monster tonight," teammate Carlos Boozer said. "We feel like sometimes we're at our best when we run, filling the lanes, letting Derrick (Rose) penetrate and create for us. But we have to get the rebound first. You saw how aggressive Jo was. He was awesome tonight."
Added coach Tom Thibodeau: "I thought his energy was good. I'd like to see his offense come back around, get some easy baskets, and I think he can do that."
Pargo powers Hawks:
Former Bulls guard and Jannero Pargo sparked an Atlanta comeback Monday. He knocked down 5 of 8 shots from 3-point range and led the Hawks with 19 points.
"It's always fun to be at home," said the South Side native. "You want to play well when you come home."
Leading scorer Joe Johnson didn't play much in the second half because of a knee injury. Atlanta finished the game with Pargo, ex-Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich and two-time almost Bull Tracy McGrady on the floor.
"(Johnson) tried to play and you could see it was bothering him," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "He tried to give it what he had."
Brian Scalabrine on whether he won or lost Sunday's post-practice dunk contest against Jimmy Butler. "I definitely lost." … Center Omer Asik played just 28 seconds Monday because the Hawks used a small front line, with Josh Smith at power forward. "They were small and quick, and I was concerned about the 3 (point shot)," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "So it was a tough game to get him in." … Atlanta's Marvin Williams missed the game because of a death in the family.