The Atlanta Hawks finally got back in the win column after coming back to beat the Knicks on Saturday night, but they faced a tough opponent in the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. The Bulls have dominated the Hawks lately, and in their last meeting, the Bulls absolutely smothered Atlanta.
This time was starting out with a little different story-line, as the Hawks dropped 30 points in the first quarter. Kyle Korver got the first bucket of the game when he hit a three-pointer, and his streak in now up to 125 games and counting. Korver only gets credit if he hits one three during the streak, but he hit three straight to account for the Hawks’ first nine points.
The offense would stall after the first quarter, as the Bulls dropped 34 points in the second period, and the Hawks were only able to muster up 21 points. The Hawks came into the quarter with a ten-point lead, but they quickly saw that diminish. The Bulls have always found a way to dominate the boards against the Hawks, and this time was no exception. They had a 14-6 advantage in the second.
The Hawks and Bulls would then trade punches in the third quarter, and the game lost whatever flow it had. D.J. Augustin of the Bulls hit a half-court buzzer beater to end the quarter, and the Hawks trailed 80-75 heading into the fourth quarter. In the final period, the Hawks seemed like they were losing control over the game, but somehow they answered every shot the Bulls took at them. Lou Williams hit huge back to back three-pointers late, and this one was going down to the wire.
The Hawks were up 103-101 with just over 43 seconds to go in the game when DeMarre Carroll fouled Kirk Hinrich on a three-point attempt, and he hit all three to give the Bulls a one-point lead. Mike Scott would miss a three in the next possession, but Carroll tipped the ball back out for an offensive rebound, giving the Hawks another shot. Scott hit a three on the next attempt, but coach Bud called a timeout. Jeff Teague was stripped coming out of the timeout, but the Hawks were able to steal the inbounds pass on the other end. Teague made a mental mistake, and stepped out of bounds on the baseline, and the foul game began. Hinrich hit two free throws to take a 106-103 lead with 11 seconds to go. Mike Scott got the ball behind the arc, but he was stripped by Joakim Noah, and the game was over.
Some believe the final attempt by Scott warranted enough contact to earn himself three free throws. It certainly looked like a foul, but it wasn’t called nonetheless. Teague had another good game, scoring 26 points and dishing out 7 assists for Atlanta. Kyle Korver added 16, Shelvin Mack had 17, and DeMarre Carrol had 13 points for the Hawks. Overall, they had six players in double figures.
The Bulls typically beat teams up on the boards and in the paint, but the Hawks were able to hold their own in the loss. Chicago only had six more rebounds (48-42), and trailed by only four points in the paint (42-38). The final score was 107-103, and the Hawks drop to 26-30. They are back in action in Boston tomorrow night against the Celtics. Paul Millsap missed this one, and will be out against the Celtics. After Wednesday’s game, the Hawks are off until Sunday, and his status will be determined then.