RECAP: Bulls 107, Hawks 103

Bo Churney —  February 26, 2014

FINAL

CHI(30-26) 107 – 103 (26-30)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Noah (CHI): 20 pts, 12 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl
J. Teague (ATL): 26 pts, 2 reb, 7 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks have had a few heartbreaking losses this season and I definitely think this one fits the bill. Atlanta led by as many as 14 in the first quarter, but they allowed Chicago to score 34 points in the second, giving the Bulls a 54-51 lead at halftime. From there, it seemed that just enough would go Chicago’s way to keep the Hawks from winning. First was DeMarre Carroll fouling Kirk Hinrich on a three-pointer with 40 seconds left, then there was Jeff Teague stepping out of bounds with 12 seconds left, and finally, there was Mike Scott getting egregiously fouled on a three-pointer when the Hawks were down three, but that foul went uncalled, allowing the Bulls to secure a victory.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Jeff Teague: It was one of those weird half-aggressive games from Teague. He did a lot of things well and was the power behind the Hawks scoring over 100 points against a Chicago team that they often struggle with, but Jeff also made mistakes at a couple of key points that resulted in the Hawks losing. Teague did have 11 points in the fourth, but he also had three turnovers, including the one outlined above. He also had some mismatches that he didn’t always take advantage of (i.e. with Noah) that could have resulted in even more points from him. Overall though, still a good game. 8/10

DeMarre Carroll: Yes, his foul with about 40 seconds left was his fault. Kirk may have jumped into DeMarre a bit to sell it, but the absolutely last thing you can do in the final minute of a basketball game where you have a lead is to foul a shooter while he’s attempting a three-pointer. Tonight just wasn’t DeMarre’s night, as he also struggled to finish in transition, which could have easily been prevented if he just slowed the ball down on a couple of possessions. That said, I will cut DeMarre some slack because he was clearly playing out of position for most of the night, as he spent a lot of it matched against Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. 5.5/10

Kyle Korver: Korver started off red-hot, making three three-pointers in the first few minutes of the game. After that, however, there wasn’t a lot going for him. Korver and co. were able to create some great open looks for Kyle, but after those first three, Kyle had some trouble knocking those looks down. It could have been worse, as the Bulls did the same for Dunleavy, but he also missed some clean looks. 5/10

Elton Brand: Hopefully Elton Brand can play Wednesday night’s game against the Celtics, but I have no idea what the Hawks are going to do if he can’t play at least 35 minutes. (At least Dexter Pittman looks in great shape. No seriously, he looked alright.) E.B. did some great work on the rebounds, coming down with 13 of them for the game, many of which were contested rebounds where he was surrounded by several Bulls, but still managed to grab the board. He also had a couple of nice blocks and was a team-high plus-6 for the game. I guess the only consolation for Elton is that he doesn’t play for Thibodeau, right? 8/10

Shelvin Mack: For most of the night, Teague and Shelvin did a good job at limiting Hinrich and DJ Augustin. The Hawks guards really outplayed their counterparts by a wide margin, which I would have thought would have been enough for the Hawks to win if you told me that in the beginning. Shel was his usual conservative self when he was the primary ball-handler, turning the ball over zero times in his 27 minutes of play. He also had 17 points to round out a rather strong offensive effort. 7.5/10

Mike Scott: Usually Coach Budenholzer is more reserved in his post game pressers, which is why I was surprised to hear him say that he absolutely thought Mike Scott was fouled on his last attempt of the game. I mean, Mike was fouled pretty obviously and there really isn’t an excuse for the referees missing that call, but I was still a bit shocked to actually hear Coach Bud say that to a room full of reporters. Anyways, Mike’s night was a bit meh. He scored 12 points on 12 shots, grabbed some key rebounds, but like DeMarre, he was simply overmatched at times trying to guard the über-physical Chicago frontcourt. 6/10

Lou Williams: My favorite Lou Williams memory of the night is going to be the 28-foot three-pointer he took at the end of the third quarter when there were about 16 seconds left on the shot clock. It was the most unnecessary shot of the game, Coach Bud looked pissed, and I have no idea how Lou didn’t get pulled from the game. He wasn’t even that open! With that, just an OK night from Lou, who did hit two three-pointers in the fourth quarter to keep the Hawks solvent. That’s about it. 5/10 (-1 deduction for that ridiculous three)

Cartier Martin and Dexter Pittman: Both played two minutes according to the box score, which is weird, but I actually thought they got a bit more time than that. If anything, we learned that Pittman has no problem with using his body to move people, as he got three offensive boards on one possession simply from being bigger than everyone else. That size, however, did not result in a field goal off of those offensive boards. INC/10

Mike Budenhozler: Blah blah blah injuries issues and what not that I’ve espoused on for the last few recaps. I mean, with lineups, the only thing that could have changed was Schröder getting some burn in Lou’s spot, but even then, I understand going with a more veteran player against a team like the Bulls. Besides that, tonight was a great night for Budenholzer reactions on the sideline, as we already had the aforemention “Bud pissed at Lou Williams” scene. We were also treated to Bud running all the way to the other side of the court in order to get a timeout called. If anything, that’s what I’m going to remember him for the most when I think about this game. 8/10

The opposition: I thought Coach Thibodeau just had a thing for playing Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler a lot of minutes, but apparently that extends to all of his starting small forward. Butler didn’t play tonight, meaning Mike Dunleavy Jr. started at SF… where he then played all but nine seconds of this game. Otherwise, it was classic Chicago “beat you up on the inside until you crack” basketball. 8/10

Next: Atlanta at Boston, Wednesday, February 26th

Bo Churney

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