The Atlanta Hawks suffered a 136-126 loss to the Chicago Bulls, dropping them to 24-30 on the season and 2.0 games behind their opponent for the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference standings with 28 games to go in the regular season.
Aside from a game or positioning in the standings, the Hawks suffered another loss when fourth-year big man Onyeka Okongwu had to exit the game in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks were already without starting center Clint Capela.
“He had to come out,” Hawks head coach Quin Snyder told reporters on February 12. “He hurt his toe, and we'll wait to see the severity of that. They're looking at him right now. But that's what happened.”
Okongwu finished the game with 11 points on 62.5% shooting with 12 rebounds, one assist, and one block.
It was still a 10-point Bulls advantage when he went out though as the Hawks defense lacked.
“We've just got to be better,” Snyder said of their defensive issues. “Some of it was pick-and-roll where we were getting rejected. And whether it be closeouts, even when you come and rotate and help … they do a good job of driving the ball after those situations. So then you're on your heels, obviously.”
Quin Snyder singles out Bulls duo after Hawks loss
Snyder also singled out a pair of Bulls players, starting with Ayo Dosunmu who dropped a career-high 29 points in his team’s victory. He also played a critical part in Trae Young’s offensive inefficiency on the night.
“Certainly Dosunumu got to the rim and got to the paint, and we ended up in a lot of late switches. But again – everybody – we've all got to be better guarding the ball.”
Young finished with 19 points on 21.4% shooting, spending plenty of time guarded by Dosunmu.
Snyder was later asked about De’Andre Hunter who missed the last outing and has continued to come off the bench as he works his way back from a knee injury. The Hawks coach pointed to Hunter’s work on wily veteran DeMar DeRozan.
“He did a really good job tonight defensively on DeRozan,” Snyder said. “It's a tough cover because he put so much pressure on you throughout a possession. He can pivot and shot fake, step around. And De’Andre was playing well before he was out, and he's continued, I think, the work he's putting in.”
Hunter finished with 24 points, six rebounds, two blocks, and one steal.
“I love that he's as aggressive as he is from three when he's got space,” Snyder said. “He's big, he can rise up, and I think that sets up other parts of his game as well.”
Hunter went 4-for-7 from deep in the contest. It was his third outing with multiple threes made in his last four appearances.
The Hawks next take the floor on February 14, visiting the 12-41 Charlotte Hornets. They beat the Hawks in the first meeting between the two teams in October.