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Bulls vs. Hawks final score: closer, but still another loss as Bulls playoff chances dwindle

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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

One thing that's been drastically missing from the Bulls was a good start, and you can at least say they had that tonight. But they still lost, in a close-ish 102-100 loss. Derrick Rose hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for the garbage cover, heh.

But the Bulls did win a couple quarters of this one at least, including the first after a 12-3 start to the game. But back-to-back Kyle Korver threes quickly had that down, though the Bulls did have a double-digit lead halfway through the 2nd period. It was good stuff for Pau Gasol's free agency sizzle reel.

Then the Bulls went on an epic scoring drought, without a field goal for nearly 8 minutes to wind up shooting 4-26 for the quarter. Meanwhile the Hawks did what they usually do to the Bulls, make them move their feet on defense and watching Chicago fail to do so. The Hawks relentlessly attacked, whether with Jeff Teague or Dennis Schroder, and pairing horrific PG defense from Rose/Brooks with the late (or non) help of Gasol and Portis was all the Hawks usually needed. Or if it wasn't that, it was taking advantage of the Bulls over-switching or losing guys in transition. Ya know, the usual. The Hawks were able to easily get a lead before half, which ballooned to 15 by the time it got to the 4th quarter.

The Hawks started playing a bit worse though, and Hoiberg decided to ride a hot Aaron Brooks (his first good game in about 13 weeks) in a 2-pg lineup, which was looking like an awful decision at the time but  actually messed with Atlanta for a bit. The Bulls came all the way back to tie with a little over a minute to play after back-to-back Brooks makes.

The Hawks (and really, shouldn't we say 'thankfully' at this point?) never lost the lead, hitting FTs while the Bulls didn't run great sets on offense. The broadcast team was clamoring for Brooks to get the final shots, but that seems a fate worse than the death the Bulls wound up receiving anyway. There was this goofy foul of a 3-point shooting Jimmy Butler. Tony Snell was sure excited.

That make was rare for Jimmy, who finished 5-16 for 15 points. The next possession saw the Bulls, down 3, attempt a 'quick' two with Pau Gasol and Mike Dunleavy as the principals. If you guessed that the play took too long and was blocked, that means you didn't watch this Bulls game, and is thus a true winner.

Rose was the team's leading scorer with 20, though the last 3 were for gamblers only and he shot 7-24 besides it. At one point Rose got himself a technical during live action, which is pretty rare.  His Bulls did attempt 13 fewer free throws in the game, and more would've been nice because they shot under 39% for the game. The Hawks got next-to-nothing from the trio of Bazemore/Hardaway/Sefolosha going for 11 points in over 67 minutes. But the Bulls countered with Dunleavy/McDermott/Holiday/Mirotic getting 13 points in over 69 minutes.  Taj Gibson had a noteworthy effort with 9 points, 12 rebounds (the Bulls did actually kill it on the glass tonight), and 4 blocks. Though even that was muted by him obviously tending to a sore side injury of some kind all game. End the season already, yeesh.

[Late update to mention: there was a friggin' Hinrich tribute again at the United Center]