Laettner has career game against Bulls

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ATLANTA -- Christian Laettner scored a career-high 37 points and grabbed 14 rebounds Thursday as the Atlanta Hawks won their 10th consecutive home game with a 108-103 victory over the Chicago Bulls, whose eight-game winning streak ended.

"He played well," Bulls star Michael Jordan said of Laettner. "No one could stop him. He played like an All-Star tonight. He really gave them the lift that they needed."

Laettner & Jordan
Michael Jordan gets called for the foul on Christian Laettner's shot.
Mookie Blaylock scored 24 points and Steve Smith added 18 for Atlanta, which snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Bulls. Dikembe Mutombo grabbed 11 rebounds for the Hawks, who won for the 11th time in 15 games.

"It's not so important. but it feels good," Laettner said of his career-best scoring output. "The win feels a lot better. "We wanted to keep that streak alive."

"There aren't too many forwards out there that can guard him," Blaylock said of Laettner. "Tonight he really came out and proved that he can go out and score against anybody. Dennis Rodman is no laid-back player. He's a good defensive player."

Jordan scored 34 points, Scottie Pippen added 20 before fouling out and Bill Wennington added 10 for Chicago, which fell to 13-3 on the road and 7-2 against Central Division opponents.

"The league put a challenge on us," said Jordan, referring to the schedule that also had them playing on Christmas. "We did all we could. We just didn't have the energy down the stretch. We just have to accept it and move on.

"We knew this team would come out ready to play. They were very active. They were getting their fouls and we weren't."

CHICAGO's Dennis Rodman and Robert Parish each pulled down 10 boards. Chicago played without swingman Toni Kukoc, who injured his ankle Wednesday during a victory over the Detroit Pistons.

The Bulls closed to 104-100 with 10 seconds left on a basket by Jordan, who also was fouled. But Jordan, who hit his first 12 free throws, missed the foul shot to keep it a two-possession game.

Laettner sank a pair from the line for a 106-100 lead with nine seconds to go before Randy Brown's 3-pointer closed Chicago within 106-103 with four seconds remaining.

Willie Burton's two free throws a second later sealed the game for the Hawks.

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