After having their nine-game win streak broken in Orlando, the Hawks were able to rebound (figuratively, not literally; the were outrebounded 57-40) against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls with a scrappy 93-86 win.
The Hawks were led by Al Horford, who had one of his best all-around games of the season. Horford tallied 21 points on 10-for-19 shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists, and two steals. It was Horford’s second 20-point/10-rebound game of the season. The six assists were a season-high for Horford, who appeared to take extra effort in trying to control the offense in the fourth quarter in order to try and keep Chicago’s defense on its heels.
“We talked about wanting to have great pace coming out tonight,” said Coach Budenholzer. “The first quarter, scoring 28 points against a really good defensive team… we got some baskets in transition. The one Al got sticks out. Paul’s sticks out to me. It probably ended up being the little bit of cushion that we needed, that allowed us to get the win.”
The Hawks received two solid performances off of the bench tonight, one being from Elton Brand. Brand only played 13 minutes, but he made his presence known, scoring eight points and loudly stuffing a shot attempt by Pau Gasol. Brand followed up that block with a jumper less than a minute later, which gave the Hawks a nine-point lead early in the game.
“To have Elton there, he’s an incredible professional,” commented Budenholzer. “He takes care of himself. He’s just one of the best workers and he sets a great example for our entire group.”
The other impact performance off of the bench came from Kent Bazemore, who scored five points, four rebounds, and two blocked shots. His swarming defense was valuable once DeMarre Carroll found himself in foul trouble and Bazemore consistently used his length and athleticism to contest Chicago shot attempts. Bazemore, who had surgery over the offseason, said he feels more comfortable with his game has time progresses.
“Coming off an injury, trying to get in shape, things not going your way physically… but the coaches and the players have been really good at keeping me sane, just stop going crazy sometimes. But it’s been a great ride and I’m really starting to catch my stride.”
This was not a banner game for Paul Millsap, who was simply overwhelmed by Chicago’s Taj Gibson. Gibson finished the gamed with 15 points (7-for-11), 17 rebounds, and great defense on Millsap, who shot 6-for-16 from the field. Millsap managed to put up some number in the stat sheet though, scratching up 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and four steals.
The game was close late with Chicago within three, but their fate was sealed as Kyle Korver managed to tip a jumpball to Millsap over Jimmy Butler with less than 20 second remaining in the fourth. Korver, who had the ball and just needed to hold it, attempted a pass that was intercepted by Butler. Korver was able to get over and force a jump out of the situation, and the ensuing Hawks win of the jumpball meant Korver was off the hook. Korver, however, admonished his own decision-making.
“My goodness, that was stupid.”
Kind of nice sometimes to hear the professionals just bluntly state that they screwed up. Korver finished the night with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and thanks to the won jumpball, no turnovers.
The Hawks will start a three-game road trip, starting in Cleveland on Wednesday. The Hawks hope to exact some revenge on the Cavaliers, who absolutely demolished the Hawks in the first meeting between the two this year. The Hawks will not play another home game until the Clippers come to visit on December 23rd.