Hawks Lose Second Straight As Offense Goes Cold In Chicago

Saturday, January 4, 2014
By Robby Kalland

Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls

The Bulls (14-18) used 20 offensive rebounds and a hot shooting night from Mike Dunleavy to win 91-84 and give the Hawks (18-16) their second loss in as many nights. Dunleavy led all scorers with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 11 points in the fourth quarter. The Hawks were able to climb back from as much as a 10-point first half deficit to tie the game at 67 early in the fourth quarter, but were unable to take a second half lead as the Bulls pulled away with stingy defense and second chance opportunities.

Hawks vs. Bulls
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The Bulls had a 52-42 (20-17 offensive) rebounding advantage on the night and outscored the Hawks 14-9 in second chance opportunities. Luol Deng was huge for the Bulls with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. Seven of Deng’s 11 boards came on the offensive end to lead the Bulls.

As a team, the Bulls shot just 40.7% from the field and 35.3% from three-point range, but they were able to get to the free throw line 24 times where they made 19 of their attempts. The Hawks had a rough go of it on the offensive end shooting 37.2% from the floor and 28.6% from the three-point line.

Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague led the Hawks in scoring with 16 points each, but the two combined to shoot just 35.3% from the field and were 0-for-7 from three-point range. This was the second straight tough shooting night for Millsap, who was coming off of a 3-of-14 performance against the Warriors on Friday. With Horford out, the frontcourt offense relies heavily on Millsap so when he struggles, the Hawks offense has a tough time scoring efficiently.

Kyle Korver pushed his three-point streak to 103 games early in the first quarter, but went just 2-of-7 from three-point range on the night and is now 4-of-18 in the Hawks’ last three games.

The bright spots for the Hawks on the night were Mike Scott and Pero Antic who continue to play well in their increased role with Horford injured. Scott led the bench unit with 12 points and also had five rebounds in 25 minutes of play, while Antic had nine points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes with three made three-pointers. Antic was the only player to finish the game with a positive +/- at +3.

In the end, the Hawks were worn down by the Bulls’ aggressive defensive attack, and, although the Hawks defended the initial Chicago sets well themselves, they were unable to box out the Bulls and prevent them from getting second chance opportunities. As the Bulls collected offensive rebounds, they were able to force the Hawks to send them to the free throw line as they had a 24-14 advantage in free throws taken on the night. Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah had tough nights offensively, but each finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and both were terrific on the defensive end protecting the rim and frustrating the Hawks in the post and on drives to the basket.

The Hawks will look to end their two game losing streak in Brooklyn on Monday when they take on the Nets, winners of two straight.

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Photo by Ray Amati/NBAE/Getty Images

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