The Atlanta Hawks made their way to Chicago on Wednesday night to do battle with the Bulls at the United Center. Aside from John Collins, the Hawks had their full complement of talent at hand while the Bulls deal with several injuries that kept Otto Porter Jr., Chandler Hutchinson and others out of the action this evening.
The first quarter was a story of back and forth basketball. Neither team got out of the gate particularly quickly, but the offense stirred on both sides rather quickly near the midway point of the quarter.
For Atlanta, Alex Len was the major lift in the opening period as he came off the bench to score 10 points and dish out two assists. Per usual, Zach LaVine led the way for the Bulls, but Denzel Valentine had a barrage of floaters near the end of the quarter to push Chicago slightly ahead.
At the end of the first quarter, the Hawks were down 37-33 needing to figure some things out on the defensive end.
The Hawks did play at least marginally better on defense during the second period, but it came at the expense of offense. Almost exclusively, Trae Young created the offense in the second quarter, but Young did not have a very good shooting night and that reflected in the Hawks’ 19-point quarter.
Assists that lead to Damian jams >>> pic.twitter.com/MpUnnOx0iC— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) December 12, 2019
Chicago took full advantage of the times when Young was off the court after the Hawks did a fairly good job of bridging those gaps against Miami last night.
The biggest storyline of the second quarter was an injury to De’Andre Hunter who got his right shoulder banged up a bit. After going back to the locker room, he was listed as available to return in the second half and started the third period.
Atlanta would surely need him after going into the locker room down 66-52.
The third quarter was an offensive showcase for both teams. Atlanta began knocking down three pointers again at a 6-of-9 clip in the period. For Chicago, LaVine continued his onslaught as he poured in 17 points in the third.
Chicago’s lead reached as many as 23 points in the third, but they left the door open slightly and the Hawks obliged with an 8-2 quick run at the end of the period to cut the deficit down to 19 going into the fourth.
The Bulls did not wait long to go for the kill in the fourth. In the opening four minutes, Chicago rattled off a 17-3 run to eventually go up by 30 points which essentially put a cap on the night. Lloyd Pierce turned to his “white flag” lineup on the second half of a back-to-back, as the game trudged to a close.
There were a couple of positives in the final frame for Atlanta. Hunter returned to show no ill effects of his shoulder problem.
Alex Len led the way for the Hawks with 17 points. Trae Young added 15 points and 13 assists, with Cam Reddish scoring 16 points in reserve duty.
For the Bulls, Zach LaVine scored 35 points followed by Lauri Markkanen, who posted 22 of his own.
The Hawks will be back in action on Friday night as they return to the friendly confines of State Farm Arena to face the Indiana Pacers. Stay tuned.