The Atlanta Hawks were once again in action Thursday night when they made the trip to the United Center in Chicago to face off against the Bulls. After two days off the Hawks looked to get off the three-game slide against one of the worst teams in the NBA.
The Hawks were again without DeAndre’ Bembry who is rehabbing a broken wrist and Miles Plumlee who is rehabbing a quad strain. Ersan Ilyasova was a game time scratch for precautionary reasons. Bembry is expected to return to the Hawks in 4-6 weeks and Plumlee could return anytime this week.
Early in the first quarter, the Hawks got off to a slow start, but the Bulls also started slow. Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen showed off some great offensive moves but outside of him there were few bright spots for the Bulls early. The same could be said for the Hawks outside of rookie John Collins, who had a monster block on Markkanen, and Marco Belinelli and at the end of the first the Hawks found themselves leading just 20-19.
The second quarter wasn’t much better for either team as the Hawks tried to get Bazemore and Belinelli more involved on the offensive end. Coach Budenholzer can honestly say he tried everything as, at one point in the second, the Hawks had all three-point guards on the floor together. Both teams went on to score 19 a piece in the second and the Hawks came away with a halftime lead of 39-37.
To open the third quarter, the Bulls were clearly more energized on offense as Markkanen easily drove past Hawks big man Dewayne Dedmon who was removed for John Collins early in the quarter. The Hawks got a good boost from the Wake Forest product who is having a great start to his career, but the Bulls took advantage of some porous defense in the third to take a 65-59 lead into the fourth.
The Hawks reinserted Dedmon to open the fourth in an effort to stop the Bulls easy drives to the basket. The Hawks could just never get going though and did not pass efficiently at all. The Bulls got some good offense from rookie David Nwaba and got into the penalty with 6+ minutes remaining and took full advantage. The Hawks simply were flat in tonight’s game and could not get any offense going and the Bulls came away with their first win of the season.
John Collins came into tonight’s game needing just 13 points and 9 rebounds to become the first player in NBA history coming off the bench with 60 points, 40 rebounds and 50% shooting in their first five games. Although he had the points, he only pulled down 4 rebounds though and came up just short of the record.
Marco Belinelli had a great night with 23 points and Kent Bazemore wasn’t far behind with 16 of his own.
Atlanta finally gets to play a home game tomorrow night in the revamped Phillips Arena. Stay tuned.