Suffering a heartbreaking buzzer-beater is never an easy thing to overcome, but especially for the Atlanta Hawks.
Historically, a loss like the one the Hawks suffered on Friday effects the team for an extended period of time. However, the Hawks will not have much time to think about the loss as the team travels to play the Chicago Bulls in the second contest of back-to-back games. I would usually say that having a game without a night of rest is a bad thing, but for some reason I believe this may be a great opportunity for the Hawks to quickly overcome a gut-wrenching defeat.
The Hawks will need to get over the loss sooner rather than later as they continue to fight to hold the no. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. One minor slip-up for an extended period of time by the Hawks, and every team is in the thick of things in the East, including the Bulls.
Luckily for the Hawks, the team that the Bulls are fielding this year is not as good as Chicago teams that Atlanta faced in the past. The Bulls currently own a 13-18 record, which is not very good for a team in a weak conference. Despite their record this season, the Bulls still have coach Tom Thibodeau, which means that they rely on defense to win games.
Atlanta easily has the better offense, but it will be challenged by one of the best defensive units in the NBA. As long as the Hawks play to their strengths in tonight’s game, I see no reason why Atlanta cannot come out victorious.
This means that the Hawks will need to rely on their ability to hit the three-ball in tonight’s game. Atlanta is one of the better three-point shooting teams in the league and have a number of players who can drain the long ball. One of those players is Kyle Korver, who I believe needs a big game tonight in order to get the win on the road. If Korver and the other three-point specialists can extend the floor to make the Bulls challenge them from outside, then the Hawks’ offense should run at a very efficient level.
Another key to tonight’s game will be the guards’ ability to distribute the ball and not force turnovers. If the Hawks become disoriented on offense and struggle to find the open man, this will lead to turnovers and play right into the hands of the Bulls. It’s all on the offense tonight in order for Atlanta to defeat the Bulls. If the offense cannot score above 90 points, I don’t see how the Hawks can pull out the win unless their defense has their best performance on the season.