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The Hawks lost their seventh straight in San Jose Friday night, 5-3, meaning they're now more than halfway through their nine-game road trip without a win to show for it. Most distressing was that the same old flaws led to goals: three on power plays following bad penalties, one on a bad turnover at the opposing blue line, and another with goalie Corey Crawford once again losing track of his own net.
The Bulls, by contrast, have thrived recently on the road, winning their fifth straight in Charlotte Friday to give them 23 victories, two more than anyone else in the NBA.
The Bulls, it's true, have been beating up on the NBA's weak siblings, the teams that did the worst job of throwing things together following the season-opening lockout. They just beat the Hornets and Bobcats, the two worst teams in the league. Yet a fan has to admire the way they've taken care of business. They slaughtered both those teams, taking them out of the game early, and they did so Friday while giving a rest to Derrick Rose. The 95-64 laugher was their fourth straight road win by 20 or more points, an NBA record, and that will stand regardless of the vastly uneven competition in the league this year.
They finish their road trip Sunday in Boston before returning home for a Valentine's night game.
The Hawks, meanwhile, play Saturday in Phoenix and face another week on the road against considerably more difficult competition. Their skid has dropped them to sixth in the Western Conference, five points ahead of the eighth-place Coyotes, who currently hold the last playoff spot, but with four more teams within two points right behind them. The Hawks want to stay out of that dogfight if at all possible, but they won't the way they're playing right now on the road.