Well, in the first half it looked like nothing changed. Hinrich was playing terrible, the team wasn't getting to the line (2 foul shots, and those were from Noah with a minute left in the half), and they shot 33%. I thought the team in general was attacking the basket plenty, they were just getting their shots continually blocked, and likely fouled (but nothing too egregious to cry about the free-throw discrepancy). Luckily the Hawks were shooting even lower than that, so the Bulls had a meager lead going into the half.
But then the Bulls followed that 34(!) point half with a 36 point 3rd quarter. Keeping the lid on the Hawks at the same time, they more-or-less pulled away from there.
First to the goat: Kirk Hinrich. He was in more mope-mode than usual, going 2-7 in the first half and culminating his awful performance on a blown breakaway attempt where instead of just getting a layup he passed the ball backwards fifteen feet to a not-ready Noah. That was the high-water mark for the boos in the game, and after picking up his 4th foul (and doing the patented Iowhine) he was benched for the rest of the game (finishing with a -8). Chris Duhon played the rest of the half (26 minutes overall) and did so admirably, just by doing enough to keep Hinrich on the bench. So credit to Duh, and credit to Skiles for keeping Duh in. Never thought I'd type that.
But back to the rest of that 3rd quarter, yet another slap in the face to those who doubt the Wallace-Thomas frontcourt. With those two supposed non-factors (and Duhon, not exactly an offensive whiz), they still had 36 points. I saw Tyrus make one real bad jumpshot attempt in the first half, but besides that he was attacking either by taking shots in rhythm or just bearing down towards the basket. It doesn't look pretty but this team needs it. Had his usual dose of highlight-plays, but also made a couple jumpers and showed some nice passing skills, both out of a post-up position and a ridiculous (both the good and bad meaning) one on the break to Luol Deng. Both he and Wallace had 12 rebounds (8 offensive) and as a team the Bulls waxed the Hawks on the boards. With so many missed shots, there were certainly plenty of opportunities.
(And one final thought on Tyrus, after his brilliant 3rd quarter (yes, he managed to stay in the whole quarter), he never came back out on the court. Granted the game was in hand, but it wasn't that much in hand. And why not give the kid some free run? )
And as is usually the key with any victory, Luol and Gordon shot the ball well. Hey, turns out it can happen. Maybe one day Kirk will join the fun too.
The win doesn't mean much (especially since the Hawks looked awful), but it's better than a loss festering until playing Charlotte on Saturday. Seeing Wallace and Thomas dominating for a whole quarter warmed my heart enough to forget that awful first half, but it was still out there, so the switch isn't fully turned on yet for this team.