Tag Archives: Atlanta Hawks

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls storm back in the 4th to ground the Hawks and move in to playoff position

With the final two playoff spots up for grabs in the East, the Bulls are trying to scrape up enough wins to squeak in ahead of the Heat or the Pacers. The victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers could be chalked up to match-ups and #TNTBulls, but the Atlanta Hawks are a team the Bulls have failed to beat all season. Erasing a nine-point fourth quarter deficit with under five minutes to play, the Bulls stormed back and shocked the Hawks with a 106-104 victory, making it the Bulls’ third straight win and fourth out of their last five, as they move to 37-39 on the season.

  • Jimmy Butler came up big in this game, hitting a huge three late in the game, and draining the winning free throws with 2.1 seconds left after getting fouled on the arm late in the shot clock. He scored the Bulls’ last nine points and had 33 for the game, along with eight assists.
  • Denzel Valentine had two very big fourth quarter threes and added 13 points on 45.5% from the field. Interestingly, Nikola Mirotic led the team by a long shot in +/- with a +17, but his line wouldn’t suggest it: eight points with just two field goals, nine rebounds and five assists. Talk about being on the court at the right time(s).
  • Rajon Rondo had a very solid game with 25 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes. In an unusual shooting performance, he had 18 attempts, knocking down 11, including three of six from behind the arc. Although he had seven turnovers, he also included three steals to help pad the stat line. He and Robin Lopez combined for a +13, and while Lopez was relatively quiet on the boards (four), he played 36 minutes and was a strong presence down low.
  • After taking a six point lead into the locker room at the half, the Bulls were able to surmount a 56-46 lead early in the third quarter, but Tim Hardaway and the Hawks’ offensive boards had other plans. Hardaway took the Bulls for 11 straight points including two threes, one after a flurry of offensive rebounds. After a 13-4 run, the Hawks regained the lead, eventually taking a five point lead at the end of the third quarter. The Hawks built that lead up to ten, and even held that aforementioned nine point lead with under five minutes to go in the game before Butler and Valentine helped the Bulls claw back and steal it in the final seconds.
  • Meanwhile, Bobby Portis is still struggling to find his way. He was pretty close to dead weight: in 17 minutes, he was scoreless on 0/4, all of them from three point range, and led the team with a -15 (oops).
  • Paul Millsap was out for Atlanta, which most certainly contributed to their late-game struggles on both ends. The Hawks are vying with the Bucks for the 5th seed, and a strong game for Dennis Schroder at 29 points and seven rebounds demonstrated that the will was there, but they couldn’t get it done.
  • Next Up: The Bulls travel to New Orleans to take on Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and the Pelicans. The Hawks play in Brooklyn against the Nets.
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Note-A-Bulls: Herculean Efforts from Wade and Butler can’t save the Bulls from the Hawks

Coming off two wins in a row, the Bulls looked to keep things going Wednesday night, taking on the Atlanta Hawks for the second time this week. After dropping their first game in Atlanta, this time the Bulls hosted the Hawks in Chicago, hoping to be above .500 at the end of the night.

Tonight, Hoiberg’s lineup was Grant, Wade, Butler, Gibson and Lopez. For the Hawks, it was their normal lineup: Schroder, Sefolosha, Bazemore, Millsap, and Howard. Starting off the game, the Bulls looked ready to pick up where they had left off in their previous game. They jumped out to an early lead, holding the Hawks to three points for the first four minutes.

Amidst rallies from Atlanta, the Bulls continuously responded to go up as much as 10 points as the 1st quarter winded down. Even after the Hawks put up a seven-point rally at the end of the quarter, the Bulls closed out with a quick six points to lead 29-22 after 12 minutes. Learning from the Bulls’ 1st quarter, the Hawks decided to up the ante offensively. They scored seven points in less than two minutes to start the 2nd.

By the six-minute mark in the quarter, the Hawks pulled into three points of the Bulls lead, 39-42. Again, the Bulls battled off a Hawks rally, outscoring them 17-9 to finish off the quarter. Chicago went into the half up 59-51, outscoring the Hawks 30-29 in the 2nd.As I have said about too many Bulls games this year, this one was a tale of two halves.

Despite Atlanta’s continuous persistence, the Bulls held off multiple rallies to stay up 10 halfway through the quarter. However, in less than two minutes, the Hawks went on a 9-2 run to pull within three points, and would tie on the next possession. The Bulls, barely hanging on, had one last gasp to outscore the Hawks by five points, leading 83-78.

Unlike previous quarters, the wheels finally began to fall off, as the Hawks would no longer be denied. Despite going up nine points early in the 4th and pushing their lead to 11 with just over five minutes in the game, they would completely collapse. Down 100-110 with three (yes, just three minutes left), the Hawks went on an abysmal 19-4 run to finish off the game and win 119-114. The Hawks scored eight points in the final minute, including six free-throws.

  • To say Wade and Butler carried the team would be an understatement. Butler, who scored a game-high 40 points, was 13-22 from the field. Wade, who turned in a 33-point performance, was 14-24 from the field.
  • The rest of the Bulls lineup from the field? 6-21 from the field, scoring 13 total points. While Taj Gibson grabbed 10 rebounds, there was nothing else to be satisfied with from the lineup. Surely, this performance will have Bulls fans particularly upset
  • Off the bench, Mirotic continued to frustrate. Despite shooting 3-11 in 18 minutes, the worst part may have been his four fouls, which would add up to be a big difference maker in the end. Once again, Felicio added some needed help on the boards, racking up six in 20 minutes of action. Paul Zipser registered a quiet 23 minutes, with no field goals but two blocks.
  • Not only did the Hawks get at least 15 points from each starter, but they also received 17 from Hardaway Jr. off the bench. After a shaky 1st quarter offensively, the group finished shooting over 51% on the night. Defensively, 13 turnovers and 20 fouls still gave the Bulls 26 opportunities at the line, where the Bulls shot 77%
  • Understandably, Bulls fans will be upset at this untimely loss. After a “good Bulls, bad Bulls” narrative has seemed to follow them all season, a three-game win streak and over .500 record would be a big step in the right direction. Despite maintaining their composure for 45+ minutes, the final collapse showed that this team will need more consistency if to finish games out in the future.
  • Up Next: The Bulls play host to Dwyane Wade’s former team the Miami Heat on Friday night.

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls back to .500 after monster game from Butler not enough to overcome Hawks

Wednesday night at Phillips arena. The seats by no means packed, Dwight Howard won the tip, and Bulls basketball was on the air. After their strong outing against the Magic on Monday, the Bulls played the Atlanta Hawks in a battle of two eastern conference powerhouses.  Jimmy Butler banged two threes to start off the Bulls scoring. After Butler drilled a wide open three, he had a little chuckle with Hawks small forward Kyle Korver, and in typical Stacey King fashion, he made the Kyle Korver hot sauce reference, only in favor of Butler. However, the rest of the game would not be so sweet for the visiting Bulls.

  • Throughout the entire first quarter, the Bulls struggled against the three. The quarter was a complete seesaw. To say the game was going back and forth was an understatement. The only stat where the teams were separated was team rebounds. At around the two-minute mark of the first, the Hawks out-rebounded the Bulls eleven to four. Out of all players on the Hawks, Thabo Sefolosha was giving the Bulls fits in the first. He allowed the Hawks to finish the quarter strongly and opened up their lead to 35-27 after one. Jimmy Butler did finish the quarter leading the game with ten points. Both teams shot above fifty percent in the first, so it’s safe to think that this game was going to be a shootout.
  • The second quarter began, and Sefolosha continued one his best offensive starts in a long time. Seven minutes in, the veteran had eighteen points and an absurd +12. The Hawks took full advantage of the surprise offense from Sefolosha. At the eight minute mark of the second, Atlanta led by a whooping sixteen points. As Atlanta continued to hold the large lead, Dwayne Wade was holding his own. Prior to missing a free throw, Wade hadn’t missed. He had seventeen points while shooting seven of seven from the floor. The Bulls continued to somewhat hang around, but their defense continued to very well below par. The Hawks did go on quite the dry spell towards the end of the first half, but still finished with a ridiculous sixty eight points. The silver lining was that the Bulls offense came alive towards the end of the half, and the shootout was very much alive. At the half the score was 68-61.
  • Taj Gibson inbounded to Rajon Rondo to begin the third. The pace of the game continued to be rather fast paced, and the points kept coming in on both sides of the court. As a result, the players started to open up a bit. Robin Lopez committed pretty much a hard intentional foul on Dwight Howard, and as Dwyane Wade went in on the fast break, Kent Bazemore came in hard from behind. Clearly a foul, Bazemore had his eyebrows quite high as he barked at the officials. Meanwhile, the Bulls kept just clawing back into the game. On the fast break again, Wade hit a step back jumper to secure a temporary one-point lead for the Bulls.  The Hawks went right back down and answered with an and-one by Dwight Howard, who at the time was approaching a double-double of eight points and eight boards. At the halfway mark of the third, the Bulls took a timeout at the 5:54 mark, with the score tied 78-78.  The scoring continued to poor in, and the game continued to constantly go back and forth. The Hawks again finished the third again on a high note, and regained a six point lead and a buzzer-beater from Malcolm Delaney.
  • Surprisingly, within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, both teams started out rather cold to begin the fourth quarter. The waited till exactly two minutes in to get themselves on the board as they were able to get a steal and Wade threw down a dunk on the other end. Almost immediately after the dunk, Tim Hardaway Jr. drilled a three to give the Hawks another large lead and shimmied his way to the bench as the Bulls took a timeout. At the six-minute mark, Jimmy Butler hit a big mid-range jumper with the shot clock winding down to once again trim Atlanta’s lead. Which, if you haven’t been able to realize, had been the theme of the game. At the five-minute mark, the Bulls had cut the lead to two as Doug McDermott hit a nice running floater. Once again, the Bulls had made it a game. With thirty-six seconds to go, Atlanta led 111-103, and it seemed like the Bulls had thrown in the towel. FINAL SCORE: ATL: 115 CHI: 107
    • As the Bulls again looked to be on the verge of tying, the Hawks extended their slim lead, by Thabo Sefolosha hitting a running floater. Sure, why not? The Bulls then went six straight possessions without scoring, and the Hawks went back up eight with just over two minutes to play.
  • One of the major stats of the night was that the Hawks had fifty-two bench points, while the Bulls only had nineteen. Obviously this number of points is a bit extreme for a bench on a nightly basis, but it has to serve as a red flag. You simply cannot have your bench that is going to give up more than about thirty points. The bench just put the starters in a very tough position tonight. If the starters were able every minute in this game, the Bulls would have blown the Hawks out. The Hawks’ starters did just enough to scrap their sixth win of the year, and the Bulls fell to 4-4.
  • Up Next: Wade makes his long awaited return to Miami tomorrow night, as the Bulls hope to right the ship against a struggling Miami side.

BULLet Points: Hawks cleanly snap Bulls winning streak

The Bulls came into tonight winning three in a row; the Atlanta Hawks, losing three in a row. The Bulls had seven players in double figures against the Washington Wizards with Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose (hamstring tendonitis), Joakim Noah, and Nikola Mirotic out. Could they do it again here against the Hawks? ….No… they could not. In one of the ugliest performances of the year, the Bulls were outscored in every quarter, dropping to 30-27 in a 103-88 loss (frankly, it was overdue, considering what they’re working with right now). In what is a very tight Eastern Conference from spots three through eight, the Bulls slide into that last playoff spot after the loss. Let’s get into the BULLets:

  • This game was so bad from the start that I found myself patiently awaiting Doug’s minutes just to see him pull off a dunk like he did against the Wizards. ICYMI:

And yes, this game was so bad that I now find myself posting Vines from Wednesday night just to find something to get excited about.

  • Aaron Brooks is killing me – he scored nine points and logged five assists, but committed five turnovers and plenty of others that should have been. The tale of the tape tells it all. He’s increasingly too small to be effective on defense as he is drawn into switches resulting in comical mismatches. He finds his way into traps and picks up his dribble prematurely, and he isn’t an effective enough scorer to make up for his shortcomings. He’s also very very good at making behind the back passes that get picked off.
  • Pau Gasol had his 33rd double double of the season with 16 points and 17 rebounds (T-4th in the NBA), but that doesn’t stop me from criticizing his effort and his inability to fit in on this team, since 12 of those rebounds came off of Atlanta misses and just five were offensive. Pau was just 6/22 tonight. Jacob Bikshorn wrote a great article on Pau’s declining play that you can find here. I won’t say much more, other than he spends a lot of time complaining to the refs. After Taj completed a three point play, instead of congratulating him, Pau turned to the ref who ate his whistle and threw up his hands, along with his patented eyebrow raise and head tilt.
  • With injuries to Butler, Noah, Rose, and Mirotic, the bench had to dig deep. It did not look pretty. At one point, the Bulls played E’Twaun Moore, Doug McDermott, Justin Holiday, Bobby Portis, and Cristiano Felicio. If you told me this would be a lineup we see this year I would say “uh-oh.”
  • The starters got torched by Atlanta. Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson, Tony Snell, Moore, and Gasol combined for a -78 outing. An early indicator of what the night was going to be like manifested during a sequence where Snell admired his three pointer from the top of the key, but missed it – Jeff Teague took advantage of the admiring Snell, grabbing the ball and getting out to run as Snell frantically tried to keep up alonside him; Teague started to gather to go up, and the trailing Snell almost injured himself jumping over Teague en route to stopping the fast break, ending with bodies on the floor. It wasn’t pretty.
  • In these dark times, you have to look for silver linings. The lone bright spot in this game was Doug McDermott, who was 6/13 from the field and 7/7 from the line, for 20 points. He was just 1/4 from deep, but was aggressive, looking for opportunities to score. He was engaged and demonstrated great off-the-ball movement. As always, his defense wasn’t outstanding, but he had a good day, relatively speaking, at just -1. His shooting is great and everything, but after what he did against Washington with the two monster jams, I just kept wondering, though: “When is Doug gonna dunk again?” And then. It happened. OMG DOUG DUNKED AGAIN. Doug has dunked more in the last three games than Derrick Rose has in the last three years. Somebody fact check that. Seems right, but so so wrong.
  • The Bulls have given up over 100 points in 12 straight games. That is all.
  • Coming up: The Bulls host Damian Lillard and Portland on Saturday.

BULLet Points: Bulls hear it from home crowd after another blowout loss

The Bulls are a trainwreck right now, in too many ways to count. Their stretch of nightmare play continued last night with a disheartening 113-90 defeat to Atlanta on the United Center hardwood. Not even returning home from a seven game road trip mustered enough out of the Bulls, who were loudly and understandably booed by the home crowd throughout the fourth quarter.

  • The Bulls held tight throughout the first half, entering the break down just five. The wheels fell off in the third quarter, though, as Atlanta sliced up the Bulls’ fledgling defense for 38 points. Through constant screens, actions, and pinpoint ball movement, the Hawks were time and again able to find wide-open, high percentage shots for their scorers. Jeff Teague paced the starters with 17 points while his backup, Dennis Schröder, led the Hawks with 18. It was a true balanced attack, with Atlanta’s offense content to take advantage of whatever open shot the Bulls would eventually surrender. The Hawks made 13 of their 33 three pointers.
  • With Jimmy Butler out for the next three to four weeks, E’Twaun Moore continues to start. Moore has actually been a rare bright spot for the Bulls this season, and he turned in eight points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals last night. E’Twaun is a capable defender of both guard positions and a far more confident scorer than Tony Snell. He’s a nice rotation player who has pretty clearly established himself as the Bulls’ best guard off the bench.
  • Pau Gasol led the Bulls with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. He continues to be one of the only reliable aspects of the Bulls bottom-five offense. Gasol’s defense and effort still leave plenty to be desired, but there has also been a noticeable improvement in these areas as Pau has been unafraid to call out the team publicly. Chicago’s smartest move would be to trade the All-Star (named as Butler’s replacement) if a decent offer exists, but the latest rumor has Gar Forman pining to throw $20 million at the aging big man. This would be an epic disaster.
  • Derrick Rose was 6/18 for 14 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Not his best night, as he struggled to convert his usual layups and mid-range shots. Interestingly, Rose drained both his three point attempts. He looked good physically after sitting out Monday night with general soreness (perfectly fine with me if we’re getting a 70 game season out of Derrick).
  • Doug McDermott led the team with 37 minutes and added 17 points on 6/12 shooting. He’s a very talented offensive player, and Fred Hoiberg absolutely needs to draw up more plays for the sweet shooter. Unfortunately, Doug is still disastrous on defense, and he posted a team-worst -29 last night.
  • Taj Gibson had a quiet night before leaving with a foot sprain. I assume he’ll be fine after the All-Star break, but the Bulls seriously can’t keep anyone on the floor right now.
  • With trade rumors swirling, Al Horford and Kyle Korver were both awesome last night. I understand why Atlanta is considering making big changes and moving on from some of their veterans, but you have to appreciate these guys. They play the game the right way, and more often than not that pays off for them.
  • Cameron Bairstow is not an NBA player. He has zero NBA skills and has failed to show anything resembling competence offensively from his first appearance last season. I was mildly shocked that he made the roster again and I’m even more confused by Fred Hoiberg’s usage of the Australian in his rotation. I understand the Bulls are banged up and in a bad place, but Bairstow cannot play important minutes on a team that wants to win. I’d much rather see Hoiberg either 1) distribute all 96 frontcourt minutes evenly between Gibson, Gasol, and Bobby Portis or 2) experiment more with Doug McDermott or Mike Dunleavy at power forward.
  • Coming up: nothing, thank the lord. The Bulls take some much-needed time off for the All-Star break. Pau Gasol is Jimmy Butler’s replacement, so both will be on hand to enjoy the weekend’s festivities.