Two struggling teams will meet Wednesday night to close out the first part of the NBA season when the Atlanta Hawks travel to Chicago to face the Bulls. Atlanta dropped back-to-back games to Orlando earlier this week and has seen questions and trade rumors swirl about the team's future. Chicago has lost 12 of 17 and three straight at home to fall to seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Atlanta's frustrations began with a loss at the buzzer on Sunday in Orlando. Nikola Vucevic's fall away jump shot at the horn gave the Magic a 96-94 win. That was after Atlanta rallied from eight down in the final minutes of the game to give themselves a chance.
The two teams squared off again on Monday with the Hawks jumping out to an early 20 point lead before watching it slip away in a fourth quarter collapse. The Magic outscored Atlanta 29-18 in the fourth quarter to force overtime and came away with a 117-110 win.
That loss left the Hawks searching for answers and rumors continued to swirl that management was considering making changes in advance of the trade deadline next week.
Chicago wrapped up a seven-game road trip with a 108-91 loss in Charlotte on Monday. They went 2-5 on the trip and lost shooting guard Jimmy Butler to a sprained knee that will keep him out for 3-4 weeks. Defense has been the biggest issue for the Bulls who have allowed over 110 points per game over their last six contests.
Atlanta took the first meeting between the two teams back on January 9 in a 120-105 win at Philips Arena. Al Horford totaled a season-best 33 points to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists in the victory.
In addition to Butler, the Bulls will be without forward Nikola Mirotic and center Joakim Noah who will miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury. Derrick Rose sat out Monday's game in Charlotte with general soreness but is not listed on the team's injury report. The Hawks will be without reserve center Tiago Splitter who remains out with a hip injury.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, February 10, 8 p.m. ET
Location: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM