Coming off victories against the Warriors and Pistons, Chicago Bulls look to win their third straight as they host the Atlanta Hawks.
It's make or break time for the Chicago Bulls .
Coming off a 126-108 victory against the Detroit Pistons in Paris, the Bulls face a stretch of season-defining games as they continue their playoff quest in what has been an up-and-down campaign thus far.
They host the eight-seeded Atlanta Hawks tonight, looking to extend the two-game winning streak before heading off on a three-game road trip.
Chicago Bulls’ Injury Report: Lonzo Ball (left knee injury) and Javonte Green (right knee soreness) are out; Goran Dragic (non-COVID illness) is questionable.
Atlanta Hawks’ Injury Report: Onyeka Okongwu (left hamstring tightness) is questionable.
Atlanta Hawks (24-23) vs. Chicago Bulls (21-24)
Monday, January 23 – 08:00 PM ET at United Center
- Points Per Game: 116 (10th of 30)
- Opponent Points Per Game: 116.3 (21st of 30)
- Bench Points Per Game: 31.7 (21st of 30)
- Pace: 100.7 (9th of 30)
- Offensive Rating: 113.9 (16th of 30)
- Defensive Rating: 114.2 (16th of 30)
- Net Rating: -0.3 (20th of 30)
- Points Per Game: 114.8 (13th of 30)
- Opponent Points Per Game: 115 (18th of 30)
- Bench Points Per Game: 31 (23rd of 30)
- Pace: 99.7 (14th of 30)
- Offensive Rating: 113.8 (17th of 30)
- Defensive Rating: 114 (14th of 30)
- Net Rating: -0.2 (18th of 30)
Contain Young and Hunter
De’Andre Hunter had 20 points and three assists in a 139-124 home win against the New York Knicks on Friday. He followed it up with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting and 2-of-5 from three-point range in 37 minutes in Saturday's 122-118 road loss against the Charlotte Hornets.
Trae Young is undoubtedly Atlanta's best player—he's averaging 27.1 points on 42.4 percent from the field. However, Hunter's hot streak makes him a legitimate scoring threat for the Bulls tonight.
The 25-year-old is averaging 18 points and 4.9 rebounds in 34.6 minutes over 11 games this month, shooting 50 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from beyond the arc. He is also the team's go-to defender, always guarding the opposing best player.
“I just worked really hard for the whole offseason,” Hunter said . “I actually had a whole summer with no surgery and no rehab, and I was just focused on my game. I really think my game expanded and got better.”
Chicago's focus will be on containing Young. However, the Bulls can't forget about the Hawks' forward as he's playing through his best scoring stretch since joining the NBA.
Play with urgency
Chicago has won their last two games, showing signs of potentially becoming the team everyone thought they would be going into the season. The Bulls went 10-6 since December 18, when they allowed the Timberwolves to score a franchise-best 150 points.
“We’re not playing for each other,” Goran Dragic said after a loss in Minnesota. “Simple as that.”
The Bulls are yet to reach the level of consistency needed to become a lock to make the playoffs. But with a sense of urgency knocking on their doors, now is the time for the team to turn their fortunes around.
DeMar DeRozan took it upon himself to be Chicago's catalyst for change, calling for his teammates to pick up the pace . The likes of Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic have already stepped up their game, and if the rest of the team can do it, the Bulls might have a chance to salvage their season.
- The Bulls won the last meeting, 123-122, in overtime, on December 11. DeRozan led the Bulls with 34 points.
- Chicago beat Atlanta three of the last five times.
- The Bulls are 5-5 in the last ten matchups against the Hawks.
- Hawks’ projected lineup: Capela, Collins, Hunter, Murray, Young
- Bulls’ projected lineup: Vucevic, Williams, LaVine, DeRozan, Dosunmu
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