The big news coming into Friday night’s matchup between the Bulls and Hawks was the status of John Collins, who developed flu-like symptoms after Atlanta’s last game against the Timberwolves. Collins was forced out early in overtime, as he appeared winded and tired and did not play in the majority of the extra period in the win over Minnesota.
Tonight, the Hawks started Omari Spellman in the place of Collins, along with the normal starters: Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Taurean Prince, and Dewayne Dedmon.
The first quarter began with the Bulls winning the tip, but the first points of the game were not scored until Kris Dunn drove to the rim to break the seal on the fifth possession of the game. Atlanta responded with a three-pointer off the hands of Prince, but from there the Bulls really turned up their intensity.
Zach LaVine scored five straight points before Dedmon was able to catch a beautiful lob from Young to help steady the ship early on. From there, the Hawks began to settle in a bit more, as the team got contributions from Prince and Dedmon again from beyond the arc to help keep things close.
Later in the quarter, Vince Carter came into the game and was a great bridge from the starters, as he came off the bench to hit two straight shots, including a three-pointer. Jaylen Adams also hit a three off the bench with under a minute to go, stretching the Hawks lead to 33-26, where the score would remain at the end of one.
The second period began with a flurry of activity from Young, who tossed up a pinpoint alley-oop to a rim-running Dedmon for the slam, followed up by a three-pointer from Alpharetta (no, seriously).
Heels on the logo. Has to be Trae Young. pic.twitter.com/DNGaPlSSU1— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) March 2, 2019
Young added a layup before all action in the game sort of stalled out through the middle portion of the quarter.
Things picked back up again with just under six minutes remaining in the half when Otto Porter, who was pretty quiet early on, nailed a pretty shot from deep to cut into the Hawks’ narrow lead. Kent Bazemore helped answer on Atlanta’s next possession with a nice two-man game with Spellman that led to a dunk for the rookie big man. Young then added another floater in the lane to keep control of the game for the home side.
The action then stagnated again until the three-minute mark, when again Young got the offense going for Atlanta, making his way to the free throw line for two more points and then following up with an assist to Alex Len in the lane for a jam. For the Bulls, it was all LaVine, who continued to score bucket after bucket at the rim using his great athleticism to jump over and around Atlanta’s defense.
The quarter ended on a sour note with Lauri Markkanen tipping in a miss with all zeros showing on the clock to cut Atlanta’s five-point lead to just three. Going into the break, the Hawks found themselves with that shallow 60-57 lead that coach Lloyd Pierce couldn’t have been satisfied with after playing so well for much of the second quarter.
In the second half both teams came out of the locker room on fire. Huerter, Young, and Spellman all scored in succession on consecutive possessions while Chicago scored on two of their first three possessions thanks to two Porter three-pointers.
The action continued with Markkanen ramping up his energy levels, scoring on multiple trips through the middle of the quarter. From there a three-point contest broke out with Atlanta kicking things off thanks to a Carter shot from deep followed by a Kris Dunn shot from distance. Huerter nailed one, which was answered again by Markkanen. Four consecutive possessions ending with a three-point make, for those of you counting at home.
Near the end of the third Chicago went on a quick 7-0 run to take the lead in the final two minutes and the Hawks found themselves in a 95-84 hole headed into the final frame needing a big comeback late. Omari Spellman was forced out of the game late in the third after rolling his ankle pretty badly, which was not good for an already shorthanded Hawks squad. He would not return to the game and his status is up in the air for the rematch in Chicago on Sunday.
Atlanta came out in the fourth ready to fight back into the game, as Trae Young began to go nuts (again), scoring seven points in the first half of the quarter on 3-of-4 shooting.
The Bulls were struggling to hang on, turning to Markkanen on three straight possessions. Huerter took a nasty fall in the early part of the fourth quarter and did not return; the Hawks desperately missed his secondary ball handling down the stretch as the Bulls dialed up the pressure on Young.
The Hawks were able to draw within a single point near the five-minute mark, but then Chicago gathered themselves to score five points in less than 30 seconds stretching the lead up to 116-108. Young secured yet another double-double midway through the fourth on a drive and dish to DeAndre’ Bembry at the rim.
Over the next couple of minutes the action stalled yet again until Young was able to tap away a steal, running down the floor for an easy layup to cut the lead to four. On the following possession Young found Dedmon on a roll to the rim which cut the deficit to two. Finally, at the 2:22 mark Atlanta finally regained the lead thanks to Young hitting a transition pull-up three that put the Hawks up 117-116.
Watch this 80 second unedited stretch by Trae Young in crunch time. Remarkable stuff. pic.twitter.com/9G9VT5aV3w— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) March 2, 2019
After a timeout Chicago and Atlanta went scoreless on consecutive possessions. Taurean Prince then picked off a lazy pass which he rushed down the floor for a jam that took the Atlanta lead to three. Then, at the one minute mark, Young drove past LaVine for a falling down lay-in to get past 30 points yet again while also putting Atlanta ahead by five.
Otto Porter then decided to rescue the Bulls. He first nailed a three pointer at the 53 second mark. After an empty possession by the Hawks he calmly came back down the floor and drove to the rim to tie the game at the 24 second mark.
With the score tied at 124, Atlanta inbounded the ball to Young, who took his time up the floor. The rookie sensation calmly stepped back at the top of the key and nailed a go-ahead three-pointer with two seconds remaining right in the face of his defender.
The Bulls didn’t have a prayer, but were saved by the whistle as Dedmon was hit with a dubious (at best) call leading to three free throws with practically no time on the clock. Porter stepped to the line and calmly sank all three freebies to send the game to overtime.
The Hawks did everything you are supposed to do on defense at the end of game. Great switches, good talk, locked in, then Bazemore reaches and DEDMON (thanks @CameronCBlack) fouls a three point shooter up 3 and this is why coaching is stressful. pic.twitter.com/AuZr5iXasj— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) March 2, 2019
Atlanta is coming off an overtime affair with Minnesota on Wednesday night, so this was nothing new to them. Young opened the overtime period the same way he left off in regulation, nailing a deep three to put the Hawks up three quickly.
Trae Young starts OT with a deep 4-point play pic.twitter.com/LgbL0tqLUf— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) March 2, 2019
The Bulls got away with an egregious travel, which led to a Robin Lopez lay-in to cut the lead to just one. Then it was Kevin Huerter’s chance to shine, as he came off a quick pick to hit an off-the-dribble three to put Atlanta back up four. Chicago countered with a quick-hitting three from LaVine to cut it back to one.
Around the 3:40 mark of overtime, it was Young once again driving to the rim and drawing a foul. After hitting both shots to keep the Hawks lead at three, Atlanta yielded another lay-up to Lopez. On the next possession Kevin Huerter had a three rim out which was followed with a driving layup by LaVine to help Chicago re-take the lead at 133-132.
With 2:30 left, Young made his way back into the lane for another floater to take him over the 40-point mark on the night and for the first time in his career. Young also became the first rookie to have 40 points and 10 assists in a game since LeBron James in March 2004. After another drive to the rim by LaVine, who was beginning to become unstoppable, Young answered with two more free throws to re-take the lead momentarily at 136-135.
Coming back down, and continuing the back-and-forth action, LaVine drove to the rim and drew a blocking foul on Dedmon for his sixth of the game, sending Dewayne to the bench for good. On the next possession Atlanta had a pretty pick and roll action involving Young and Len who teamed up for an easy dunk by Len.
LaVine continued to be out of his mind and came straight down the floor pulling up for three and nailing it for the lead again. After a missed three by Young things began to tighten up in the final minute. Chicago was able to pick up an errant pass rolling on the floor and take the ball back down the floor before Vince Carter was able to foul Wayne Selden, who went 1-for-2 at the line to give the Hawks some hope, down only 140-138.
After a missed quick three-pointer by Huerter, Chicago turned to LaVine (why not, right?), but the Hawks made a fantastic defensive stand to save the game. With seven seconds remaining, Young sprinted down the floor and wiggled off a lay-up to tie the game with a second to spare. For whatever reason, the Bulls didn’t take their final timeout with 1.0 seconds on the clock and LaVine couldn’t launch the ball in from the backcourt and the fans at State Farm Arena got five more minutes of basketball to break the deadlock.
Trae Young has 45 points and 12 assists and we're going to double overtime and if you're not watching this on Fox Sports Southeast, what are you even doing? pic.twitter.com/EcUS9TP8kl— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) March 2, 2019
Double overtime began with a turnover by the Hawks followed up by a LaVine missed three-point attempt. Young then made his way to the rim with ease yet again and gave the Hawks another lead at 142-140. After a missed Huerter three-pointer, Chicago was able to make their way back to the rim with Porter to tie the game.
Then, with just over three minutes remaining, Young was able to find Bembry in the corner for a three-pointer to take the lead back once again.
After a missed three-pointer by Selden, Atlanta responded with a tip in shot by Len after a (rare) Young miss.
Around the two minute mark and with the Hawks up 147-142 the Bulls began to play a dangerous game, but got within three thanks to a huge LaVine driving dunk. Then with under a minute to go in the second overtime Atlanta had a costly turnover to keep the Bulls hope alive down just 147-144.
After a timeout, with just 35 seconds remaining, the Bulls inbounded the ball to LaVine who drove to the rim and kicked to Ryan Archidiacono (who else?) in the corner who hit a heartbreaking three to knot things back up at 147.
The Hawks had 24 seconds remaining and opted to not take a timeout. They came down the floor with Young, who found Carter on the wing for a wide-open three that clanged off the rim.
Chicago rebounded the ball with seven seconds remaining and ran down the court into Prince, who gave Atlanta’s foul to give with three seconds remaining. After the Bulls final timeout of the second overtime Chicago went to Porter, who missed a driving lay-up to send the game to a third overtime.
Atlanta won the tip of the third overtime and immediately went into a Young/Carter pick-and-roll, which ended with Vince missing another wide-open three. On the next play, Atlanta intercepted an errant pass by LaVine and put Bazemore on the line on the other end. He went 1-for-2 at the line to give Atlanta the first lead of triple overtime.
With a minute elapsed in the period, the Hawks and Bulls exchanged missed shots to keep the Hawks up 148-147. After another empty possession by Chicago, Young delivered a drop off pass to Len in the lane who was fouled while hitting a lay-in. Len missed the point after attempt, but still got the Atlanta lead to three.
Then, with just over three minutes remaining, the Bulls were able to draw a foul at the rim. Shaq Harrison stepped up to the line and calmly sunk both shots to take the lead back down to just one. For Atlanta, Young was getting constantly double-teamed but was able to make the drop off passes to his teammates finding Len again in the paint to jump the lead back to three at 152-149.
Next it was Chicago’s turn to re-tie the game with just under two minutes remaining, thanks to Zach LaVine hitting a spot up three to make his way over 40 points on the night, bringing the score to a 152-152 tie.
The Hawks countered by going to Young again, who was able to find Carter. The vet (finally) hit an open three pointer to give Atlanta a late three-point lead again. Atlanta fouled LaVine on the next possession, but he missed one of his free throws to keep the Hawks lead at two.
With under 90 seconds remaining in the third overtime, Young missed a deep three and the Bulls decided to run with LaVine, who was able to get past Alex Len for a lay-in to tie again at 155. In the final minute, Carter missed another three point attempt, and the Bulls rebounded the ball, but were caught with a toe on the line to give the Hawks another possession.
Atlanta could not get off a good shot as Bembry was caught travelling beneath the rim sending the ball back to Chicago with 30 ticks left on the clock. The Bulls inbounded to LaVine again who dribbled down the clock to 10 seconds before missing a shot badly without grazing the rim (or anything for that matter).
Coming back, the Hawks were down to six seconds and took a timeout to advance the ball attempting to keep the game from going to a third overtime. After the timeout, Atlanta went to Young, who got caught on the end-line and was whistled for stepping out of bounds turning the ball over to the Bulls with three seconds remaining.
Chicago received the ball after a quick review and turned to Zach LaVine, who made a monumental mistake by charging straight into Vince Carter, handing Atlanta one last chance.
Atlanta had no timeouts and were forced to go to safety valve Alex Len, who threw up a wild prayer which missed and sent the game to a grueling FOURTH overtime.
To open the fourth overtime, Atlanta opted to give Young a breather in favor of the fresher Jaylen Adams. The teams exchanged empty possessions to begin, but Atlanta got some good action going between Bembry and Len, who was able to pop out to the corner, where he hit a three-pointer to give the Hawks a 158-155 lead.
Young re-entered the game with just under 3:30 remaining and was immediately called upon, with a drive to the rim that just popped out. After a Chicago miss, Atlanta ran the floor and found Len near the rim for a foul. After going 1-for-2 from the line, the Hawks gave up an open jam to Lopez to tie the game again at 159.
The Hawks then had a costly turnover, which was compounded with a bad foul on Len, who caught Markkanen shooting a three. Markkanen nailed all three shots to take the Bulls up three.
After a quick dunk by Lopez, the Hawks found themselves down five with under two minutes to go. Young was able to rush down the floor and get a lay-up to fall to cut it back to three with under 90 seconds to go.
With Atlanta down 164-161 and under a minute to go, Zach LaVine hit a dagger lay-up to take the lead to five again, putting the Hawks in hot water late. After a timeout, the Hawks had 37 seconds to score five and first went to Bazemore, who could not hit a shot all night and missed a three-pointer to pretty much seal the deal.
Chicago rebounded up five and dribbled all the way down the floor before taking a timeout at 19 seconds. Atlanta opted to foul on the inbounds pass to Selden with hope still alive. Selden nailed one of two shots to put the Bulls up 167-161, the bow on top of a fantastic game that one team unfortunately had to lose.
Young was beyond spectacular, finishing with 49 points and 16 assists, the best points-assists combination for a rookie in NBA history. For Chicago, LaVine went shot for shot with Young, scoring 47 points of his own to go with 9 assists and 9 rebounds.
Elsewhere, it was a team effort for the Hawks, who had seven players in double digits. On the other side, Porter and Markkanen each chipped in 31 points.
These two teams will do it again on Sunday afternoon, as the Hawks and Bulls will reconvene in Chicago for the rematch. Let’s all pray to the basketball gods that game is half as entertaining as this one was.