Offense Struggles In Chicago
The Bulls (26-25) jumped out early on the Hawks (25-25) and despite a second half effort to rally back by Atlanta, Chicago was able to hand the Hawks their fourth consecutive loss by a 100-85 margin. Six Bulls finished in double-figures led by Taj Gibson — 24 points, 12 rebounds, and five assistss — and Joakim Noah – 19 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists.
|Hawks vs. Bulls|
The Bulls jumped out to a 33-17 lead after the first quarter behind six points, six rebounds, and six assists from Noah and nine opening quarter points from Mike Dunleavy. The Hawks shot just 38.9% for the quarter, with only Paul Millsap finding ways to generate points with seven. Gibson had eight of his 24 in the first quarter and the Bulls shot 57.7% as a team.
The Hawks tightened up their defensive effort in the second quarter, but were still down 19 going into the half. In the third quarter, Atlanta found offensive success once Lou Williams got aggressive as he had nine points on 4-of-4 shooting in the third as the Hawks closed the gap to 80-70 heading into the fourth.
In the end, the Hawks rally was too little, too late. Mike Scott hit a three to cut the Bulls lead to eight early in the fourth quarter, but the Bulls immediately put together a 7-0 run to end the Hawks’ comeback chances as they cruised down the stretch to the 15-point victory.
The Bulls shot 50.6% from the floor — 40% from three — on the night, and also gathered in 17 offensive rebounds. The Hawks inability to limit the Bulls to one shot attempt per possession really compounded their defensive mistakes. Gibson, Noah, and Jimmy Butler accounted for 15 of those offensive rebounds, and all finished the night with double-digit rebounding numbers as the Bulls out-rebounded the Hawks 57-28 (17-5 offensive).
Millsap led the Hawks with 15 points, but, like the rest of the team, he was never able to find any rhythm that he could carry throughout the game, as Noah and Gibson did well to make his catches difficult and contest his jump shots.
Kyle Korver was able to extend his three-point streak to 119 games, but was only 2-of-7 from the field as the Bulls were able to stay attached to Kyle as he wove through screens, unable to get free for open looks often. Williams finished with 13 points and looked much better than he did against the Grizzlies on Saturday. He was aggressive in that third quarter attacking defenders off the dribble and being decisive with his shot selection, rather than hesitating on open looks.
The Bull’s performance was simply dominant from start to finish, but Atlanta will have to shake it off quckly. The Hawks will face another tough test tomorrow night in Toronto, as they will face a Raptors team that has been surging in 2014. The Hawks will look to avoid dropping their fifth straight game and stay above 0.500 in the standings before they get nearly a week off for the All-Star break.