For the first time in a (very) long time, the Atlanta Hawks were able to upend LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. Rather than resting on the splendor of that win, however, the Hawks will return home on Wednesday with a quick turnaround and a match-up against the Chicago Bulls.
Chicago has impressed in the early going of the 2016-2017 season, accumulating a 4-3 record while performing quite well on offense. The Bulls have scored more than 110 points per 100 possessions on the young season, and while that some of that is unsustainable based on a 36 percent clip from three-point range, Fred Hoiberg has integrated both Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo into the team’s offense in an effective manner.
Defensively, the Bulls have been less impressive and it will be interesting to see how Atlanta fares on the second night of a back-to-back. Offense remains the concern for the Hawks in an overarching sense, but shots fell on Tuesday in Cleveland and there are signs of life revolving around Dennis Schröder’s captaincy of that unit. Chicago also has some issues with rim protection and stopping penetration based on the weaknesses of Wade (at his age) and Rondo, which should be at the forefront of the game plan for Atlanta.
Keeping Jimmy Butler under wraps will be vital for the Hawks, and that is a familiar refrain. On the positive side, Butler isn’t quite the physical presence of a player like LeBron James that gives Atlanta fits, and it will be interesting to see how the defensive match-ups align given the presence of both Butler and Wade with Kyle Korver back in the lineup following a one-game absence for the birth of his child.
With the added obstacle of a back-to-back with travel, anything can happen, but this is actually a favorable match-up for the Hawks on paper. How the team responds following a big win, though, remains to be seen.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, November 9, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM