“Ice Trae” delivers again in the fourth to seal Hawks’ win

Streamers rained from the roof of the State Farm Arena as “Ice Trae” made his regularly scheduled appearance in the fourth quarter to secure the win and avenge the loss from the last time the Hawks played the Chicago Bulls.

This contest was back and forth throughout the entire second half, both teams were going runs to tie the game or take the lead. Defense was a bit of an afterthought as both teams were clicking on the offensive end. Whatever the Bulls did, the Hawks seemed to have an answer for, especially as the game winded down.

The Hawks came out blazing to open the second half, going on a 30-14 run to take a 10-point lead with under three and a half minutes left in the third quarter. The Bulls came right back with an uppercut of their own, closing out the third quarter on a 16-4 run taking a 92-90 lead.

The Bulls increased the lead to nine as Demar DeRozan operated from the mid-range as his scoring totals reached 22 points with a little under 10 minutes to go, unfortunately for the Bulls, this would be the last time he scored in this game.

The Hawks found their answer in the form of their All-Star, Trae Young was subbed into the game and made his presence felt as he was responsible for nine of the 11 points the Hawks scored to bring the Bulls lead to one possession at 110-108.

The Hawks would take the lead on their ensuing offensive possession from a Bogdan Bogdanovic three, the Bulls responded and pushed their lead to three. The Bulls just couldn’t stop Young as he was in his duffle bag, tying up the game at 114-114 with a 26-footer.

Both teams would trade free throws and the lead down the stretch until Young found Bogdanovic in the corner for three giving the game its final lead change. DeRozan was called for a travel, giving Young another opportunity to create.

Of course, Young had something marvelous in store for his team as he would take an isolation step back from deep making it a two-possession game. The Bulls failed to put the ball in the basket again and needed a crucial stop with under a minute left to keep the score within reach.

It’s only fitting the ball was back in the hands of the guy who seals deals and plunges the dagger in the opposing team’s heart. Hence the name “Ice Trae.”

The delivery was impeccable, the crowd on their feet, another iso for Young, another step back and the same magic from the corner to give the Hawks a seven-point lead, all but ending the game. The arena was rocking as he came through when the Hawks needed it most, again.

Young would finish the game with 39 points on incredible efficiency shooting 77% from three and 61% from the field. He scored 15 of those points in the fourth to go along with his 13 assists to secure yet another double-double.

Hawks head coach Nate McMillan highlighted why Trae Young was able to go to work in the fourth.

“He’s a confident kid,” said McMillan. “The first half, he was being cautious with that ankle and in the second half he came out very aggressive. I think he did a good job finding matchups and zoning in on what to do with those matchups.”

Other than Young, the Bulls’ inability to get to the line and turnovers down the stretch proved to be the difference. The Bulls only attempted seven free throws all game compared to the Hawks’ 28 attempted free throws. The Bulls also finished the game committing 13 turnovers compared to only five from the Hawks.

Bogdanovic provided a spark off the bench and came up big as well finishing his night with 20 points. De’Andre Hunter and Kevin Huerter played valuable minutes scoring 18 and 17 respectively.

With about a month and a half left in the regular season, the Hawks need these crucial wins if they want to secure a playoff spot. With a strong bench presence and key contributions from their starters, the Hawks should be well equipped for a postseason push.