Let’s face it — the Chicago Bulls own the Atlanta Hawks. It doesn’t matter where the game is played either. With coach Tom Thibodeau at the helm, the Bulls have become one of the best defensive teams in the league, and Atlanta always struggles against defensive-minded teams.
The Hawks held their own for the majority of this contest, but when the time came to turn up the intensity only the Bulls answered the call. Atlanta started out the game great by recording 31 points in the first quarter, however, most of these points came from a red-hot performance from the three-point line. The Hawks went an outstanding 5-for-6 from three.
As soon as the shots stopped falling from long range, Atlanta’s offensive production plummeted. The team failed to get over 23 points in each of the next three quarters and only recorded 92 points for the game. Chicago’s defense certainly deserves most of the credit for turning things around after a bad start, but a lot of the Hawks’ problems were of their own doing.
They turned the ball over 16 times which led to 21 points and 13 of them were steals. Now this may sound like Chicago was doing a great job pickpocketing the Hawks’ ball-handlers, but in reality most of these steals came on flat out lazy passes. There were numerous times where Lou Williams or Jeff Teague would make a lackadaisical pass to their teammate only to watch a Bulls’ player run down the court for an easy layup or dunk, and it cost the Hawks the game in the end.
After last night’s 105-92 defeat, the Bulls swept the season series 4-0 and have now won six in a row against Atlanta dating back to last season. However, what’s even worse than being owned by the Bulls this year is that the Hawks now find themselves falling out of the playoff race. They are tied with the New York Knicks for the No. 8 seed and must raise their game if they wish to make the postseason.