Hawks-Bulls: Five observations

Five observations

1. Speed kills

The Hawks point guards were simply too much for the Bulls. The duo of Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder got inside much of the night. The finished with a combined 40 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Teague took over in the third quarter as the Hawks built a 15-point lead. He scored 12 straight Hawks points, to the Bulls’ five, during the run. Playing with pace has been the Hawks’ advantage over the Bulls all season. It was again Monday.

3. Four-point play almost a disaster

The Hawks let a 13-point fourth-quarter lead slip through their fingers as the Bulls went on a 20-7 run to tie the game at 93-93. The Hawks upped their lead back to five points with free throws from Kent Bazemore, Thabo Sefolosha and Teague. However, the Bulls got back within one point, 98-97, when Paul Millsap fouled Jimmy Butler on a 3-point make and a converted free throw with 19.6 seconds left. Millsap called it a “boneheaded play.” The Hawks recovered from the play for a narrow victory.

3. Block fest

Millsap had six blocks in the game to tie his season and career high. On the sixth he turned Pau Gasol away at the rim late in the third quarter. Millsap also had six blocks on Jan. 9 - against the Bulls.

4. Hawks big run

After trailing by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, the Hawks answered with a 26-6 run to end first half. The run included 15 straight points by the Hawks. The Bulls went 7:42 without scoring a field goal, a span in which they missed 14 straight shots and committed three turnovers. For the second quarter, the Bulls shot just 15.4 percent (4 of 26). The Hawks shot 54.5 percent (12 of 22). The Hawks took a 52-45 lead into intermission. Paul Millsap had seven straight points to end the Hawks’ run.

5. Team meeting

The Bulls held a team meeting after an embarrassing loss to the Magic on Saturday, a third straight defeat as they are falling out of playoff contention. It worked for about 15 minutes. The Bulls led by as many as nine points in the first quarter and took a 31-22 following the first period. The Hawks shot just 32 percent (8 of 25) in the quarter. The Bulls pushed their lead to 13 points, 39-26, 2:15 into the second quarter on a 3-pointer by Bobby Portis. They would make one field goal (and four free throws) the rest of the half.

“I’ve said this all along, when we get off to good starts on the defensive end we generally play well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said before the game. “When we have a first-quarter lead, more often than not, we win the game.” He was wrong.

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