Nightmare for the Atlanta Hawks in Chicago

It was a rough start to the road trip for the Atlanta Hawks. Missing both Trae Young and Jabari Parker, the team fell in brutal fashion at the United Center, losing 116-81 to the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls came out of the gates fast with a 14-0 run, causing Lloyd Pierce to take a timeout. Lauri Markkanen enjoyed a hot start with an early 10 points in the quarter. 

The Hawks defense had no answers for the fast-paced and penetrating Bulls offense. Chicago built an early 35-19 lead and never looked back. 

Atlanta shot an abysmal 9-of-23 from the field in the opening quarter, showcasing just how hard it was to score without their star point guard. The Bulls, on the other hand, shot 70%.

John Collins put together his best showing since returning from his suspension. Collins was driving into the lane and being aggressive with his touches, ultimately finishing with a game-high 34 points. 

Markkanen continued to be hot in the second quarter, though, draining 3s and spreading out the defense. Zach LaVine also began to heat up. LaVine and Markkanen combined for 31 to finish the first half and boasted 64-43 lead going into the locker rooms. 

To start the second half, Collins, who was the only bright spot for the Hawks, posed a consistent scoring threat. He drained consecutive 3s on back-to-back possessions to help trim the deficit. 

The lead swelled to 22 points in the third quarter, though, as Jim Boylen’s team continued to create open looks and make Atlanta pay for them. Chicago’s young core would shine the brightest.

Turnovers killed Pierce’s men, as they failed to establish any sort of rhythm. At times, it was obvious the players didn’t know who should handle the ball. Without a true backup point guard, the Hawks’ playmaking was dreadful. Cam Reddish finished with six assists, but only two points.

While having Collins back on the floor bodes well for the offense, especially when Young returns from his ankle injury, the team simply needs more weapons. For Chicago, however, the young core is taking a few steps forward. Bulls fans have plenty to be excited about.

The Hawks head to Florida to continue their road trip, where they’ll face off against the Orlando Magic on Monday.