The Bulls are back in action tonight at the United Center, taking on the Atlanta Hawks for the second of three times this season. In the first matchup Chicago grabbed control early thanks to a 28-6 run in the opening stanza and never looked back. Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky's career-high 27 points led the way to a 113-93 grounding of the Hawks in Atlanta on November 6th. The 6'7 guard shot a blistering 10-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
Lauri Markkanen also enjoyed a nice night for Chicago, going 6-of-11 from the field, and 4-of-7 from deep, finishing with 17 points. Former Bulls forward Jabari Parker led the Atlanta offense with 18, while veteran swingman Vince Carter came off the Hawks' bench to contribute 14 points in 16 minutes.
Defensively the Bulls did a great job of defending the arc, holding Atlanta to a season-worst 6-of-30 (20%) from downtown, including shutting down sharpshooter Trae Young as he was 0-of-8 from distance, and 3-of-12, overall. Chicago also stole the ball 11 times and forced Atlanta into committing a whopping 24 turnovers.
All in all, not a whole lot has gone right for the Bulls this season as they enter tonight's contest having dropped 17 of their first 25 games, including a current streak of three losses in a row. For Chicago to come out on top this evening they must put forth a blue-collar effort by playing aggressive at both ends of the floor.
When the Bulls stampede out of the gates from the opening tip and establish a fast pace and play unselfishly, good things frequently happen. It's imperative they share the ball with one another, freely skipping it from player-to-player and from one side of the court to the other, while seeking opportunities to attack the basket. All five players on the floor must stay actively involved in the action. The offense can't transform into a string of one-on-one battles. To succeed the Bulls must be willing to outhustle, outwork and outexecute every opponent by forcefully going after every rebound and loose ball. They must set a dynamic tone defensively, jumping passing lanes, double-teaming the ball, and making sure they put a hand in the face of all shooters, especially those hovering along the 3-point arc.
The Hawks fly into town hoping to close the book on a back-to-back set of games on a good note after falling in overtime in Miami last night, 135-121. Despite putting up a terrific fight, Atlanta simply ran out of gas at the end as the Heat burned them 18-4 in the extra stanza to capture the game. Young finished with 21 points and nine assists, while rookie forward De'Andre Hunter posted a career-high 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.