What got into Sefolosha in Hawks win over Bulls

Five observations from the Hawks’ 115-107 win over the Bulls Wednesday.

1. For a nearly four minute span between the first and second quarter, it was the Thabo Sefolosha show. The Hawks forward scored 16 of the team's 21 points in a run that pushed a lead to 14 points. Sefolosha started the run with six straight points and ended it by score the Hawks' first 10 points of the second quarter. To start the period, Sefolosha outscored the Bulls 10-4. When hit scored the final basket of the run, forcing the Bulls into a timeout, Sefolosha was mobbed by teammates Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore. Sefolosha entered the game with a season-high of 13 points, but had 18 points by the end of the streak. He was a perfect 7 of 7 from the field, including two 3-pointers.

“I try to bring to the team whatever is needed,” Sefolosha said. “It was a different game from last night. My assignment last game was very defensive. Tonight also with (Dwyane) Wade and (Jimmy) Butler. They are a handful. But I was able to free myself up and my teammates did a great job finding me. And I just shot the ball.”

Sefolosha ended with a team-high 20 points, five rebounds and three steals.

2. In addition to Sefolosha, the Hawks got a needed run from Tim Hardaway Jr. in the second half. He scored six points in the third period, including two straight as the Hawks erased a three-point deficit to take the lead for good. His 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter capped a 21-5 Hawks run.

Hardaway finished with 11 points.

3. Malcolm Delaney continues to be a solid contributor. The backup point guard had 10 points, including buzzer-beaters to end the first and third quarters. The shot to end the third came while he was guarded by Bobby Portis on a switch. Delaney made a couple shake moves and then calmly banked in a 17-footer.

“I just saw a big man on me,” Delaney said. “I can get my shot up against anybody pretty much. That’s not my role here. I still have that in my game. Any time I see a big man on me I feel it’s a mismatch. I just wanted to get to a shot.”

Delaney was a team-high plus-25 for the game.

4. The highlighted play of Sefolosha, Hardaway and Delaney punctuates the Hawks depth. It's one of the reason the Hawks can win at Cavaliers and versus the Bulls on back-to-back games. Mike Muscala also scored in double-figures off the bench.

“You credit the whole group but the bench, the depth, was critical for us tonight,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “That punch from Thabo in the first half and from Tim and Malcolm in the second half. That’s when you can really struggle when your starters, so much is expected of them, so much is given, but for them to get picked up like that is really helpful.”

5. Butler (39) and Wade (25) got away from the Hawks to a certain degree with a combined 64 points. But the Bulls got little help from anyone else as the duo accounted for 60 percent of the offense. The Hawks tried to keep the ball out of their hands, according to Budenholzer. The Bulls only went four deep on their bench with a maximum of 22 minutes by a reserve. That's a lot of pressure on the starting unit and two stars in particular.