The Bulls and Hawks obtained collectively for a good ol’ long-established tank-off on the United Middle on Thursday night time, and it went simply the way you’d count on a recreation to go between two terrible groups lacking key gamers.
When the mud settled, it was the Bulls who got here away with a 91-86 win (?).
As you possibly can inform by the rating, the Bulls’ offense was not good for a lot of the night time. They shot solely 36.5 p.c general and seven-of-32 from lengthy vary. Nonetheless, they made up for that by pounding the a lot smaller Hawks on the glass, snatching 17 offensive boards (Robin Lopez had seven himself) en path to a 62-40 rebounding edge. The Bulls additionally scored 11 extra factors on the charity stripe (22-11) and dominated in the paint with a 46-20 benefit.
Whereas the Bulls’ offense struggled, a few of this was merely a perform of lacking open 3s. Lauri Markkanen in explicit missed a bevy of open appears to be like, particularly early, however #TheFinnisher obtained huge when it mattered. With the Bulls up one level in the final minute, a Markkanen-Jerian Grant PnR resulted in an open triple that the rookie calmly buried:
Markkanen completed with 14 factors and 13 rebounds in 31 minutes. Though he shot 5-of-13 from the sphere and a pair of-of-eight from three, he made some good changes after struggling along with his outdoors shot in the first half. He was extra aggressive going to the basket in the second half, beating Mike Muscala off the dribble on a number of events. Muscala made some changes of his personal late in the sport and stoned Markkanen on a couple tried drives, but it surely was the rookie who had the final snort with that three-pointer:
Lopez led the Bulls with 16 factors, although most of his scoring injury got here early when the sport was actually hideous. With the Bulls tossing up bricks from outdoors, their handiest offense grew to become Lopez in the submit, which actually wasn’t essentially the most aesthetically pleasing.
In fact, in addition to his scoring, Lopez did yeoman’s work on the offensive glass with these aforementioned seven offensive rebounds. He additionally saved quite a few different balls alive merely along with his savvy positioning and big body.
And, lastly, Lopez got here up with a big dime to Justin Holiday late in the fourth quarter after a triple from outdated pal Marco Belinelli put the Hawks up one. The Bulls’ possession appeared stalled with Lopez holding the ball on the high of the important thing, however Vacation caught Kent Bazemore sleeping with a good again minimize and Lopez zipped in a move on the cash.
The Bulls’ different “star” of the night time was David Nwaba, who got here off the bench and supplied a main jolt. Nwaba’s power and athleticism jumped off the display screen, and he completed with 15 factors and 11 rebounds to report the first double-double of his profession. He even made his second profession three-pointer! I actually preferred how he performed.
All 5 Bulls starters scored in double figures, however I can’t say Vacation, Grant or Denzel Valentine performed all that nicely. Valentine took some actually dreadful photographs en path to a three-of-14 taking pictures night time (his airball in the final minute was snort-out-loud unhealthy), whereas watching Grant attempt to run offense may be a actual chore.
As for the Hawks, they merely don’t have a lot with out Dennis Schroder. Belinelli had 23 factors, rookie John Collins is sweet and so they hit simply sufficient three-pointers (11) to make this recreation attention-grabbing, however they have been tough to look at. These two groups are undoubtedly going to be combating it out on the backside of the Jap Convention, although the Knicks should still be worse.
And talking of the Knicks, they’re now the final winless staff in the NBA due to this Bulls victory.