Enhanced Box Score: Hawks 123, Bulls 105 – April 4, 2023
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: In a high-stakes game, the Chicago Bulls came out flat.
Despite no De’Andre Hunter or Trae Young, the Atlanta Hawks came out and punched the Bulls in the month. They opened things up with a 13-2 run behind a 3-3 start from downtown by Bogdan Bogdanovic – the same player who lit the Bulls up for 28 points off the bench back in December.
Chicago’s halfcourt defense struggled to keep up with a balanced Hawks scoring attack. They went on to shoot 55.6 percent from the field in the first half, as every player who touched the floor except one scored. What sure didn’t help was the foul trouble for Alex Caruso. He was held to just 8 minutes of action in the first due to three relatively quick fouls.
Offensively, the Bulls looked fine. While they couldn’t buy a 3-pointer to save their life – the Hawks were basically daring the Bulls to shoot – Zach LaVine led the way with an efficient 15 points and Nikola Vucevic added 10. Patrick Williams also continued his recently steady play off the bench with a mean pull-up jumper and an aggressive baseline drive for the dunk. With the recently hot Coby White starting 1-4, Williams’ 4-5 start for 9 points felt that much more important.
The Bulls were able to cut the Hawks’ 65-53 lead down to single digits a couple of times during the second half. But every single time it felt like they had a chance to fully snatch the momentum, they would clank a 3-pointer, shank a layup, turn the ball over, or let up a straight line drive to the rim. In other words, it felt like watching the team that made me pull all my hair out before the All-Star break.
Indeed, aside from that Pacers game, this is easily the Bulls’ worst loss since the break. I don’t want to completely spiral because – hey – they did clinch the Play-In Tournament tonight thanks to a Cavaliers win over the Orlando Magic. But if this team can’t take advantage of an opportunity like this, how can we expect them to make the most of the Play-In Tournament?
Anyway, we’ll talk more about it tomorrow. There are still three more games left on the calendar and none of the seeding is set in stone. While it would have been far easier to move into 8 or 9 with a win tonight, the chance of it happening technically isn’t out of the equation just yet.
Check out the box score here.