Hawks Lose Heartbreaker to Bulls

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
By Robby Kalland

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks (26-30) were unable to get critical baskets in the final minute as the Bulls (30-26) were able to pull out a 107-103 victory. The Bulls played eight players and seven finished in double figures — only Nazr Mohammed was scoreless in five minutes. Mike Dunleavy played all but nine seconds of the game and led the Bulls with 22 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.

Hawks vs. Bulls
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The Hawks led by as many as 14 in the first quarter and went into the second up 10, but the Bulls roared back to take a three point halftime lead. The second half was closely contested throughout, and in the fourth quarter the lead changed hands six times. The Hawks had a 103-101 lead with 1:06 to play after DeMarre Carroll buried a three-pointer over Taj Gibson. With the shot-clock winding down, Carroll closed out on Kirk Hinrich and fouled him on a three-point attempt with 40.8 seconds to play. Hinrich hit all three free throws and the Hawks couldn’t retake the lead, but not for a lack of opportunity.

After a missed three by Mike Scott, the Hawks got the offensive board and got the ball back to Scott for another three-point attempt, which he made, but not before the refs granted Coach Budenholzer a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Hawks got the look they wanted as Jeff Teague drove into the lane and Kyle Korver flared out to the corner all alone, but Joakim Noah was able to strip Teague of the ball before he could collect it and make the pass to the open Korver.

The Bulls called timeout with 20.1 seconds to play and advanced the ball, where Elton Brand tipped the pass and Korver collected the steal. Teague tried to push the ball up the floor, but as he tried to bring the ball back out after the initial drive, he stepped on the baseline. The Hawks got one more opportunity for Scott with 11 seconds to play, down three, but Scott lost the ball after he felt he was fouled by Noah as he rose up for a three-pointer.

“I thought I was [fouled],” Scott said. “Noah even said he fouled me, but can’t do nothing about it now. That’s all I can say about it…at the same time, we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that predicament and, it sucks the way it had to end like that, yeah.”

People will remember the unfortunate final possession and the three that didn’t count because of the timeout, but Scott played well with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

The Hawks — still without Paul MillsapPero Antic, and Gustavo Ayon — put in a lot of work on the glass against the tough bigs of Chicago, only allowing the Bulls to have a 48-42 advantage on the glass (15-11 offensive). Brand led the way with a game-high 13 boards along with seven points, three assists, two blocks, and two steals in 42 huge minutes. Without Brand, the Hawks struggled to deal with the Bulls’ size as the team was -10 in the six minutes that Brand was on the bench, compared to +6 with Elton.

Korver extended his three-point streak to 125 games on the opening possession and made three of his four made threes in the game during the first quarter. He finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Teague came alive in the second half, scoring 17 of his 26 points to help lead the Hawks comeback charge. Teague was aggressive attacking the basket and had one of his best shooting nights of the year, going 3-of-4 from three-point range. Teague also led the team with seven assists. In all, six Hawks finished in double figures with Shelvin Mack (17), Lou Williams (12), and Carroll (13) joining Teague, Scott, and Korver.

During this recent stretch where the Hawks have lost nine of their last 10, there have been a number of tough losses late in games where they just could not find a way to close it out. Despite this, Coach Bud feels the confidence of the team in late game situations is still there.

“I think the morale of the team coming down the stretch of a close game is very good. We’ve won our fair share. Maybe it was more early than recently. Our guys have made a lot of plays down the stretch. I think there’s a lot of confidence in the locker room and a lot of confidence in each other. It maybe hasn’t worked out recently, but I don’t sense anything but confidence.”

“You’ve got to have short-term memory in the NBA,” Carroll said. “You can’t be too high on one game and too low on another. you have to continue to keep playing hard like we played tonight.”

The Hawks will have their chance to get back in the win column tomorrow night when they take on the Celtics in Boston.

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Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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