Curry, playing after three-game absence, scores 24

CHICAGO (AP) -- Eddy Curry didn't allow a sore hamstring to slow
him down.

Curry scored 24 points in his return to Chicago's lineup and Ben
Gordon added 17 in the Bulls' 105-91 victory over the Atlanta Hawks
on Monday night.

Curry, the 6-foot-11 center who missed the Bulls' previous three
games with a strained left hamstring, was 8-of-13 from the field
and 8-of-9 from the line.

"It felt good just to be back," said Curry. "I decided to
take a little time off and get my leg right so when I came out
there it wasn't [any] kind of a handicap.

"It's pretty sore right now, I know I have still a little ways
to go before I get to where I want to be, but for the most part I
felt pretty good," Curry said.

Kirk Hinrich added 12 points and 10 assists for Chicago, and
Othella Harrington had 10 points.

The Bulls, who are in their first playoff race since 1998, also
got Luol Deng back from the injured list. He missed 10 games with a
sprained right ankle.

"It was big to just to have those guys back," said Hinrich.
"We need those two guys if we are going to make the playoffs."

Chicago is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game
behind Cleveland and a game in front of Indiana.

"It's a lot of pressure but at the same time it's fun." Curry
said. "We have a chance to do something special for Chicago and we
are not taking that for granted."

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 16 points, Al Harrington had 15,
and Tyronn Lue added 14 points and eight assists. The Hawks, an
NBA-worst 11-55, have lost five straight and 18 of their last 19

Chicago led for most of the game, but Atlanta stayed within
single digits until Curry and the Bulls pulled away in the fourth

Leading 86-79 with 9:05 left in the game, the Bulls went on an
8-0 run. Curry scored six points in the stretch, including a layup
that made it 94-79 with 5:27 left.

"We couldn't get the lid off the basket for a minute until
later in the fourth quarter and it hurt us," said Smith.

The Bulls led 55-44 at the half, with Curry scoring 12 points
and Hinrich adding 10.

Game notes
Deng had nine points in 22 minutes. ... Tyson Chandler had
13 rebounds for Chicago. ... Bulls forward Andres Nocioni left the
game in the second quarter with a right wrist sprain. He returned
in the fourth quarter and finished with six points and seven
rebounds. He will have an MRI on Tuesday. ... Curry was two points
shy of his season high. ... The Bulls had a season-low 10
turnovers, and Gordon had five of them.