The first quarter started with both teams unable to score. The first score came by Joakim Noah three minutes into the game, and with 2:55 to play the score was 11-10 Hawks. Luol Deng asserted himself at that point scoring six points in the final three minutes to lead the Bulls to a 21-17 first quarter lead. The Bulls started slow, but improved to a solid 47.4% from the field, while the Hawks shot just 36.8% from the field. While the Hawks struggled shooting, they did do a solid job on the glass, out-rebounding the Bulls 12-8 (5-1 OR).
The second quarter started much better as both offenses found their rhythm, with the Hawks shooters finding their stroke. Lou Williams, who got his first start of the year, hit a pair of threes early in the second quarter, and the Hawks got out on the break. The fast-break scores, most notably a lob from Lou to Josh Smith and a Lou posterization of Kirk Hinrich, brought the Philips crowd into the game for the first time. The Hawks fed off that energy and kept running, jumping out to a 53-37 halftime lead.
Lou led the Hawks with 14 points, and Al Horford added 12 points and seven rebounds as he kept the Bulls off the boards. Kyle Korver had 11 points on 3-of-5 from three including a buzzer beater at the end of the half. The Hawks shot the lights out in the second quarter, improving their shooting percentage from 36.8% in the first to 52.4% thanks to a 15-of-23 (65.2%) shooting in the second.
Much of that was helped by the nine turnovers they forced and 13 points off turnovers. The Hawks defense tightened up in the second quarter and not only turned the Bulls over, but were able to bother Chicago’s shooters, causing them to shoot just 41.2%. Atlanta continued to lead on the glass, out-rebounding the Bulls 22-16 (8-4 OR). The Hawks will need to keep up the intensity they had in the second quarter to try and get an easy win to head into their little Christmas break.