After historic offensive performance, Bulls set to face Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks will try to end a three-game losing streak when they return home Sunday to host the Chicago Bulls.
The Hawks lost a tight 120-116 game at Brooklyn on Friday, while the Bulls are coming off a resounding 144-115 win over the short-handed Dallas Mavericks and have won two straight.
This is the first of four meetings between the two teams. Chicago won three of four games against Atlanta last season. The Bulls scored 130-plus points nine times last season, and two of those games came against the Hawks. Chicago will be trying to sweep a back-to-back for the second time.
Chicago set a franchise record with 82 first-half points on Friday against the Mavs. They were led by DeMar DeRozan with 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists. The veteran averaged 28.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists in the four games against Atlanta last season. He has scored 27-plus points in back-to-back games after being held in the teens in his two previous contests.
The Bulls didn’t waste time against the Mavericks, who played without Luka Doncic. They were ahead 26-8 after seven minutes and scored 40 points in the first quarter.
“We didn’t have to run a lot of halfcourt offense,” Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said. “We got stops, got steals and were able to get out and play in transition. I thought we started well, and it was the steals and the stops.”
The Bulls are playing without Javonte Green, who has missed three straight games with right knee soreness. Alex Caruso left Saturday’s game in the first quarter with a lower back contusion.
The Hawks are playing without three starters: Dejounte Murray (left ankle), John Collins (left ankle) and De’Andre Hunter (right hip flexor). Hunter is close to returning and could get be back on Sunday.
“I believe in them,” Atlanta head coach Nate McMillan said. “We’ve got to believe in each other. I know we’re short-handed, but we’re not playing to play close, we’re playing to win games, and we can do it. It’s about us finishing. We have to learn how to finish the game, get stops and then make shots the last five minutes of a game when it’s close.”
Trae Young is averaging 27.5 points and 9.5 assists through 24 games. On Friday against the Nets, he scored 33 points with nine assists, putting him one assist away from breaking a tie with Jeff Teague (2,771) for the fifth-most assists in franchise history.
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 31 points against the Nets and went 7-for-9 on 3-pointers in his fourth game since returning from knee surgery. A successful 3-pointer would give the Hawks at least one in 1,000 straight games, a streak that began on Feb. 19, 2010. That is tied for the 11th-longest active streak in the NBA.
“He’s not hesitant, which is good,” McMillan said of Bogdanovic. “He’s not concerned about his knee. It seemed like he had his rhythm back and was able to knock down shots.”
–Field Level Media