For the first time in over a year, the Chicago Bulls found themselves down by 9 points in the third quarter of a game. Instead of folding under the pressure, however, the Bulls rallied to score 12 points in the third quarter, with Felicio and Bobby Portis, Jr. scoring 7 of the 12. Defensively, the Bulls continued their strong play, holding the Atlanta Hawks to just 9 points in the fourth quarter. But late in the game, disaster struck, with Chicago’s defense crumbling, and the Hawks scoring 16 points in the fourth. The Bulls were unable to overcome their collapse and lost the game, 114-107.
Contrary to what you may have thought before Saturday’s Chicago Bulls game against the Atlanta Hawks, we learned that scoring only 12 points in a quarter is not the best strategy for winning. Oddly enough, the Bulls tried again at 21. in April against the Cavaliers for 12 points. It didn’t work either, in case you were wondering. Anyway, let’s look at the Bulls 108-97 loss.
The Bulls went into the game against the Hawks feeling sick – literally. Before the game, the injury report didn’t look good. Confirmed absentees are Zach LaVine, Troy Brown Jr. and future Dancing with the Stars champion (maybe) Cristiano Felicio. In addition, big men Nikola Vucevic and Lauri Markkanen are listed as questionable. On short notice, it was announced that Vucevic would be active in the game.
Lauri Markkanen and Nikola Vucevic could be involved with the Hawks, Billy Donovan reports.
– KC Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 1, 2021
Because it was the Bulls, Vucevic’s status was downgraded to offside after about an hour.
Nikola Vucevic is out for the game against the Hawks, according to the Bulls’ press office.
– KC Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 1, 2021
What a whirlwind of emotions. We all knew that Al-Farouq Aminu was going to play and that it would be a bad time.
And it was indeed a bad time. The Bulls had a good first half. They led 63-54 at halftime after an impressive 37-point second quarter. Patrick Williams and Tomasz Satoranski, who have been criticized for their passivity this year, played aggressively and drove to the basket. It seemed the team was at its best without its two stars.
(Side note: Can you imagine, the Bulls have two All-Stars and their score is 26-38? That’s amazing in the worst way).
After rebounding in the first half, the Bulls came out on top in the third. They scored 12 points against Atlanta’s 28, and Tra Young and the Hawks never looked back. The Bulls shot 25 percent from distance and 65 percent from the free throw line. Those numbers, combined with the fact that the Hawks made nine more three-pointers, shot – and hit – nine more free throws, and outscored the Bulls five times, caused the Bulls to score fewer than 100 points for the third game in a row. The Hawks won 108-97.
Although most of his aggressive play came in the first half and then faded, Patrick Williams finished the game with 19 points on 7/13 shooting. This is only the 15th time this season that he has taken ten or more shots in a game. This season, the rookie is shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from three-point range. Fans and analysts are asking him to be more aggressive in attack. We still have a lot of work to do, but hopefully this starts a trend of more fourth-round offenses in 2020.
Thaddeus Young also had a good game. He had 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in 33 minutes, second best on the team. Although the Bulls couldn’t make up for the offensive lapses of Vucevic and Felicio (who average 24.8 points per game), Young did his best to keep them in the game.
Bad Kobe White showed up tonight. His inconsistency has drawn the ire of Bulls fans this season, but he seemed to be starting to improve in LaVine’s absence. White took 16 shots today and hit just five, a 31.3 percent percentage. He would have been the worst on the team if Markkanen hadn’t selflessly saved him by shooting 30%. White also had four steals (0.75 assist-to-catch ratio) and five fouls. It wasn’t pretty.
Al-Farouq played Amina. That’s probably all there is to it. He played 12 minutes of the messiest basketball you’ve seen in a long time.
As for the rest of the Bulls players, none of them scored more than 10 points. Once again, Zach LaVine’s absence was painfully obvious. Of course, LaVine’s points average over his total number of games is not enough for the Bulls to win. But the Bulls can’t get their All-Star defender back fast enough.
The Bulls’ next game is Monday at 8 p.m. ET against the Philadelphia 76ers (42-21). The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago. The Sixers are only half a point out of first place in the Eastern Conference, so they will want to play this game convincingly. So the Bulls will probably win this game one way or another to reduce their chances of finishing in the top 4. Classic Bulls.
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