After an extremely fun game on Monday, the Bulls and Hawks got together again on Wednesday night, this time at the United Center. After one competitive quarter with a ton of scoring, the Bulls ran the Hawks out of the gym in the second quarter and cruised to a 131-117 victory.
While the Hawks remain extremely shorthanded, this was yet another ridiculously impressive offensive performance from the Bulls. Zach LaVine led seven players in double figures with 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting and 5-of-7 from 3 as the Bulls shot an absurd 61.9% from the field and 10-of-22 from 3-point range. All 12 Bulls players who saw the court scored, including Derrick Jones Jr. in his return to the lineup and Mac McClung with his first NBA points in garbage time.
The Bulls also racked up a season-high 38 assists (Jimbo would be proud!), with Coby White handing out 12 of them in an outstanding playmaking performance. White didn’t have the best shooting game with 17 points on 6-of-14 from the field and 3-of-9 from 3, but this was his best overall performance the season because of his passing. White was really struggling with his shooting early on before coming on late, but he was still a positive because of how he was setting up others. Making an impact while not raining buckets is really important for him, and he did that in this one.
There were terrific performances all over the roster. Nikola Vucevic had 16 points, 20 rebounds and three steals. DeMar DeRozan had 20 points and eight assists. Javonte Green was all over the place with 14 points, including a team-high eight in the first quarter as the Bulls put 38 on the board.
Off the bench, Ayo Dosunmu was awesome with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and more stellar defense on Trae Young, who did have 26 points and 11 assists but also had seven turnovers and got stuffed by the rookie again. Tyler Cook had 10 points and several very loud dunks:
Troy Brown got in on the fun as well with six dimes and three steals.
This was a really fun team effort, and it was great to see the Bulls make it a point to run the shorthanded Hawks off the court in the second quarter. After giving up 36 points in the opening frame (Illini legend Malcolm Hill did some damage), the Bulls ratcheted up the defense in the second quarter, turning defense into offense over and over and over. The Bulls had 22 fast-break points and a season-high 74 points at halftime as a close game turned into a 21-point laugher. Chicago finished with 31 fast-break points for the game.
The Bulls led by as many as 27 points in the second half before the defense packed it in for the rest of the night, which allowed the Hawks to keep things semi-interesting. But the home team was never threatened because the offense never slowed down much, with the final 14-point margin the closest Atlanta got after things got out of hand in the second quarter.
LaVine capped this one off with a 360:
The Bulls have now won five games in a row and are 22-10 heading into a New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day back-to-back on the road against the Pacers and Wizards.