I’m not sure any team in the NBA has made their fan base rip out more locks of hair this season than the Chicago Bulls have …. But the Atlanta Hawks are right up there!
With last year’s Rookie of the Year candidate Trae Young alongside two new lottery picking in Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter, the Hawks looked to have the makings of a nice young core on their hands. Add players like John Collins and Kevin Huerter to the mix, and it wasn’t crazy to think this lineup could be in its fair share of competitive games this year (sound familiar?).
After all, that squad won more games (29) than the Bulls did last season (22), and while the offseason optimism was a bit higher in Chicago, it felt like Hawks fans had several reasons to be excited about the new year. Fast forward six weeks later, and the Atlanta Hawks are arguably more depressing than the Bulls (and that’s hard to do).
Not only have they already chalked up one 20-point loss to this eight-win Bulls’ team earlier this season, but they hold a 6-18 record and have seven losses by 20 or more points this season. Even worse, Atlanta has a 47 and 49-point losses already on the calendar to the Rockets and Clippers, respectively.
Um, yeah, the Bulls have been embarrassed on the court this season, but nothing that bad.
Arguably the Hawks’ most embarrassing moment of the season though came last night, when Young hit a 3-pointer to put the Hawks up six against the Miami Heat with 1 minute remaining. Young celebrated and declared his shot the dagger. The only problem? The game went to OT and the Heat went on a 24-0 run to eventually win by 14.
Trae Young yelled "It's over!" to the Heat crowd after the Hawks went up 6 with 1 minute left
…The Heat ended up winning by 14. pic.twitter.com/0JlpCpC72Y
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 11, 2019
I mean, at least the Bulls only lost to Miami by 5, because they blew coverage on the team’s best 3-point shooter like a normal bad team. Yeesh.
Oh, and to add more drama into the mix, The Athletic’s Shams Charania recently reported that Young had a bit of an episode in the locker room after his team’s recent loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Trae Young was reportedly involved in a heated locker room exchange. After, a member of the Hawks organization said the Hawks would be “getting some help soon,” per @ShamsCharania
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 9, 2019
I mean, at least the Bulls just blatantly disagree with their head coach to the media instead of yell about it in the locker room.
Nevertheless, Young’s frustration is warranted. The second-year star has been the only good thing going for the Hawks since the season started. Over his last nine games, he’s been on quite the hot streak, scoring 32.9 points per game with 8.2 assists a night. The only good news that brings for the Bulls tonight – you know where the ball is going.
Last time these two played on November 6th, the Bulls knew the same thing and held Young to his second-lowest scoring performance of the season with 9 points (tied with a game he had on November 22nd against Detroit). He shot a 0-8 from 3-point land and only found his teammates for 3 assists. The Bulls can thank not only an off night for that but the solid defensive play of Kris Dunn (5 steals that game) and Tomas Satoransky.
All of this inner turmoil and poor execution on the court should mean another nice Bulls win tonight. However, the Bulls might be the best team in the league at NOT winning games they’re supposed to, so my real confidence level is a solid -4.2.
Plus, this fact isn’t working in their favor …
The visitors have won each of the last seven meetings between the Bulls and Hawks.
The Bulls look to end that trend when they host Atlanta, pregame 6:45 on @670TheScore.
— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) December 11, 2019
I’m ready for the battle of the embarrassments!