featured-image

Keys To The Game: Bulls at Hawks (3.3.22)

The Bulls look to get back on track on Thursday night when they take on the Hawks in Atlanta.

Chicago is up in the 2021-22 season series against the Hawks 3-0 and looks to get the sweep this week. The Hawks have struggled to hold down the Bulls defensively, with Chicago averaging just over 124 points per game per matchup vs. Atlanta.

Here is how the Bulls can complete the regular season series sweep of the Hawks on Wednesday.

Win the Trae Young minutes

In three matchups this season against the Bulls, Trae Young is averaging 23 points per game on a truly ghastly 33.3% from the field and 16% from the 3-point line, obviously, well below his season averages.

A big part of Young's struggles against Chicago has been the individual lockdown defense of Ayo Dosunmu.

And outside of Dosunmu, Nikola Vucevic also deserves plenty of credit for doing a solid job of containing Young while in drop defense.

In the last matchup between these two teams Young was a +2 despite his team losing 4, a testament to how his blend of playmaking and scoring can keep any game close.

If Chicago can win the minutes that Young is on the floor, it is tough to see the Hawks keep this game close considering that Atlanta is limited in terms of lead playmakers.

Hard box outs on Clint Capela

The last time these two squads faced off, Clint Capela had 17 rebounds and was generally a thorn in Chicago's side. He was a major factor in Atlanta winning the rebound battle on February 24.

If Chicago wants to provide themselves with a good shot at putting away Atlanta early, then they will need to keep Capela off the offensive and defensive glass.

Capela, at 27 years old, still has plenty of bounce left.

When 100% motivated and locked-in, Capela can still give troubles to opposing bigs.

The Bulls guards and wing players will need to commit to keeping a body on Capela at all times, even if it means drawing a few cheap fouls for the sake of preventing easy putback buckets for Atlanta's offense.

Big bench performance

It doesn't matter whether it is a big offensive night or a huge impact night on defense, the Bulls simply need someone from their bench unit to contribute in a big way on Thursday.

In the February 24 Hawks-Bulls game, the entire Chicago bench combined for 27 points, while Atlanta sixth man Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 27 points himself.

If Chicago plans to beat the Hawks comfortably on Thursday, then they will need to see someone outside of the usual suspects step up and have a big night as the Bulls continue their postseason push.