By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor
The Atlanta Hawks snapped their three-game losing streak with a 103-88 home win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night at Philips Arena.
Four Hawks (32-27) scored in double-figures led by a team-high 19 points from Jeff Teague who also dished out a game-high nine assists. Paul Millsap grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds and scored 12 points for a double-double in addition to five blocks. Kent Bazemore scored 17 points while Al Horford had 18 points.
Atlanta shot 41.6 percent from the field in the contest but struggled from the three-point line, only making seven out of 34 attempts for a 20.6 conversion percentage. Atlanta did grab 48 rebounds as a team, only one less than Chicago and had 28 assists. The Hawks also nabbed 14 steals and blocked 12 shots on defense.
“I think the consistency of the defense from the first quarter all the way through, even at halftime when we weren’t shooting the ball very well,” Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game about a factor in the victory. “Tonight was big for us. We had a tough few games coming out of the break, several of them were close. To have two to three days off and come out to get a win, we’ll have one more on Sunday, we’ll have a similar mindset. We have to play better and see if we can do it with our defense, particularly starting and coming out of the gate.”
The Bulls (30-27) were held in check by the Hawks’ defense, shooting only 36.4 percent from the field. Chicago only made five out of 20 three-pointer attempts and committed 20 turnovers.
Doug McDermott scored a team-high 20 points off the bench for the Bulls while Pau Gasol grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds and scored 16 points for a double-double.
The Bulls were without the services of All-Star Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Nikola Mirotic due to injury.
“From the beginning, the Hawks outmuscled us,” Chicago head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “They got second-chance opportunities pretty much every time down. Our ball movement was not good on the other end.”
Leading 51-44 to start the second half, a three-pointer in the right corner by Teague gave Atlanta its biggest lead of the contest at 72-54 with 5:26 left in the third quarter. The Hawks took a 79-67 lead into the fourth quarter. Atlanta outscored Chicago 24-21 in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
Atlanta jumped out to a 26-21 lead after the first quarter. The Hawks shot 39.3 percent from the field and only made one of 11 three-pointer attempts in the quarter. The Bulls were at 47.6 percent in the first quarter but missed all six three-pointer attempts.
Both teams continued their struggles from long distance in the second quarter as they combined to make only three out of 30 three-pointer attempts in the first half. Despite going two for 20 from the three-point line, The Hawks took a 51-44 lead into halftime.
Teague scored a team-high 10 points in the first half for Atlanta while Bazemore and Millsap each had eight. The Hawks outscored the Bulls 28-18 in points in the paint.
McDermott scored a team-high 10 points off the bench for Chicago in the first half while Gasol had seven.