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Offense fails Hawks in 113-93 loss to Bulls

It was ugly.

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

On the heels of an impressive home win on Tuesday evening, the Atlanta Hawks returned to action at State Farm Arena on Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls. The follow-up wasn’t nearly as positive, however, and the Hawks flailed offensively on the way to a 113-93 defeat.

The opening moments belonged to the Hawks, with Atlanta scoring the first four points, including a dunk by Jabari Parker.

From there, though, the Bulls asserted control, zooming to a 22-6 run to take a double-figure lead midway through the first quarter. Atlanta struggled to settle in, committing a few careless turnovers, and Chicago knocked down four of their first five attempts from beyond the three-point arc.

Things didn’t immediately improve, either, with the Bulls building a 30-12 advantage within the first ten minutes of action. During the spurt, Zach LaVine delivered a moment that did impress some in the building, hammering through a 360-degree dunk.

Mercifully, the bleeding was stopped by a much-needed three-point connection from Vince Carter.

Aside from a last-second three-point play from Trae Young, there wasn’t much to be excited about in the opening quarter, with Atlanta taking a 14-point deficit into the second period. After a pair of ugly turnovers to start the quarter, there were signs of life, including a nice find from Kevin Huerter to Alex Len.

Atlanta cut the deficit to 11 with a mini-flurry but, a few moments later, Otto Porter Jr. connected on a three, prompting a timeout from Lloyd Pierce at the 7:14 mark with the scoreboard reading 42-26. More turnover-plagued minutes ensued for the Hawks but things brightened a bit when Parker put together another big-time dunk.

In a microcosm of the entire half, the end of the second quarter went poorly for Atlanta. Young missed a three with 11 seconds to go and, on the other end, Chicago connected on a triple to stretch the lead back to 56-41.

The Hawks made only 2 of 17 attempts from long distance in the first half and, when combined with 12 turnovers, the recipe for quality offense wasn’t there. Still, the deficit wasn’t insurmountable, particularly against this opponent, and there was reason for optimism as a result.

Though the Bulls threw a haymaker coming out of the locker room with a 9-2 run to take a 22-point lead, the Hawks did fight back, using a four-point play from Parker to help cut the margin to 14.

Chicago wasn’t ready to go quietly, though, pushing the lead back to 20 in a short amount of time. Atlanta’s initial spurt was buoyed by a small-ball lineup featuring Parker and Carter in the frontcourt but, in time, the Bulls solved that riddle and reasserted control of the festivities.

Along the way, frustration set in for the Hawks and, in general, it was an unwatchable offensive product.

There were faint moments of encouragement in the second half but, in total, it was a woeful performance from the Hawks in what should have been a winnable game at home. Parker led the team offensively with 18 points, while Carter contributed 14 points in support. Young struggled with only nine points and three assists in 29 minutes, but he was far from alone, with the lion’s share of Atlanta’s roster scuffling on this night.

As a team, the Hawks shot just 40 percent from the floor and 20 percent from three. Beyond that, the home team committed 24 turnovers, leading directly to 31 points from the Bulls, and those offensive numbers speak for themselves.

After a break on Thursday, the Hawks will return to action on Friday evening, when Atlanta plays host to the Sacramento Kings.

Stay tuned.