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Long-range shooting dooms Hawks in 113-97 loss to Bulls

Offensive issues aplenty.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

For what has become a rare occasion in the 2017-2018 season, the Atlanta Hawks were favored (according to the good people in Las Vegas) to top the Chicago Bulls on Saturday evening. Unfortunately, that projection did not come to fruition, as the offense collapsed for most of the night on the way to a lopsided final score of 113-97.

The evening began in ominous fashion and that proved to be an indication of things to come. The visiting Bulls started things with a 14-3 run and, in short order, the Hawks were in a 20-7 hole that coincided with a brutal offensive output.

Atlanta would respond in kind with an 11-2 spurt midway through the second quarter but that was basically the only positive stretch of the first half. Later, Chicago closed the second quarter on a 16-4 run as Atlanta’s offensive cratered and that combination led to a 55-38 halftime deficit.

While the 38-point total stands on its own, the Hawks produced unsightly numbers in the first 24 minutes. The home team missed 21 of its 23 three-point attempts and, in conjunction with 33 percent shooting from the field on the whole, Atlanta’s offensive rating of 74.9 was not enough to remain competitive.

Most of the third quarter was reasonably kind to the Hawks, with the team outscoring its opponent overall. With that said, Atlanta failed to slash the margin to single digits (on multiple occasions) and that inability to close the gap would come back to bite them in the closing period.

In fact, the Bulls began the fourth quarter with a 13-2 run and, seemingly in the blink of an eye, the game was essentially over with a 25-point gap between the two teams. From there, it was pure garbage time and, in the end, Chicago emerged with a 113-97 victory to send Atlanta back to an even 2-2 on the homestand.

The story of the evening was offensive impotence from the Hawks, as the team finished the evening with a paltry 11 of 47 mark (after starting 5 of 40) from beyond the arc. That, of course, wasn’t the only issue but Atlanta’s offensive rating (95.1 points per 100 possessions) reflected the sadness and there was little in the way of offensive brilliance to speak of aside from an 11-point, 11-rebound double double from Dewayne Dedmon.

The Hawks will return to action on Monday evening, as they play host to the Utah Jazz. Stay tuned.