State Farm Arena played host to its second NBA game on Saturday evening and, to be frank, it was one to forget for both teams involved. With that as the backdrop, the Atlanta Hawks fell to the Chicago Bulls by a final score of 97-85.
In what is becoming an alarming trend, the Hawks came out of the gate slow on this night, committing four turnovers and missing four straight shots at the outset. That allowed the Bulls to take a 10-1 lead and, for a brief moment, it looked as if Atlanta would be digging out of another significant first quarter hole.
However, the home team awakened with haste, using an 11-3 run to climb within striking distance and progressing from there. The Hawks connected on 6 of 10 threes in the first quarter (including a perfect 4 of 4 from Kevin Huerter and DeAndre’ Bembry) and that long-distance shooting allowed the team to claim a lead after 12 minutes.
Seemingly on cue, the Bulls raced to a 10-2 run to begin the second quarter, but the Hawks responded with a 10-3 spurt of their own to re-establish order. Atlanta and Chicago went back and forth for much of the second period but, despite massive shooting struggles, the Hawks found themselves (with a hat tip to the bench) operating with a three-point lead at the half.
All told, the Hawks made only 27 percent of their shots in the first two quarters, but quality three-point shooting and the offensive incompetence of the Bulls (78.6 offensive rating) allowed for a strong overall position. Still, Atlanta’s offensive struggles continued into the second half, while the defensive output (aided by Chicago’s offense) wasn’t as strong.
The third quarter was one to forget on both sides, though the Bulls took control with a flurry near the end of the period. Chicago used a 9-2 run to take its biggest lead of the night (at eight points) but, thanks to a late spurt, the Hawks slashed the margin to four as the fourth quarter arrived.
With a sub-optimal stretch, the Hawks fell behind by ten points (80-70) early in the fourth quarter, prompting Lloyd Pierce to deploy a no-PG lineup. In a hurry, the home team scored eight straight points to threaten a comeback and, when the Bulls opened things back up, Atlanta never quit.
Ryan Arcidiacono committed a costly clear path foul for the Bulls, giving the Hawks two shots and the ball with the deficit back to five. From there, however, the Hawks were unable to generate the stops necessary to complete the comeback and the final 12-point margin was fitting of the overall showing.
The Hawks will return to action on Monday evening with a road tilt against Mike Muscala and the Sixers. Stay tuned.