Hawks look to even season series with Bulls
ATLANTA -- Two weeks ago, the Atlanta Hawks had lost five of six games, including four straight on a West Coast trip, and were cemented in the cellar of the Eastern Conference. Today they're no longer in last place and in the throes of a rare winning streak.
Atlanta (13-31) has won two straight and three of its last four and hosts the Chicago Bulls (17-28) on Saturday at Philips Arena. The Hawks are one-half game ahead of Orlando for last place in the east and stand 2 1/2 games behind Brooklyn.
This will be the second meeting between the clubs this year. The Bulls won the first game 91-84 on Oct. 26 in Chicago. The Bulls set a season-high with 62 rebounds and all five starters were in double figures that game. Atlanta has won five straight over Chicago in games played at Philips Arena.
The Hawks have relied on their defense during this recent run of success. In each of the three wins, they have held their opponent to fewer than 100 points. Atlanta ranks second in the league in forcing turnovers (16.3 per game) and rank 10th in the league with 8.4 steals per game.
Atlanta is coming off a 94-93 win over New Orleans, a game in which point guard Dennis Schroder had 15 assists and no turnovers. Atlanta overcame a 19-point deficit and won the game when Kent Bazemore hit a jumper at the buzzer.
"We're improving," Bazemore said. "Coming down the stretch we want to win games and we had a plethora of guys step up. That entire second half we sort of impose our will on them."
Chicago had its three-game winning streak broken on Wednesday with a 119-112 loss to Golden State. The Bulls had been on a roll, with victories over New York, Detroit and Miami. The Bulls hung tough against the Warriors, but couldn't prevent them from winning their franchise best 14th straight road game.
"We played three quarters of really good basketball, but you take one off against a team like (Golden State), you're not going to win," Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said.
The Bulls have been deadly shooting 3-pointers this season. Earlier this year they set a franchise record for nine games of 10-plus 3-point baskets. Rookie Lauri Markkanen has hit multiple 3-pointers in the last 12 games, breaking his former career-best streak of 10 straight games. Nikola Mirotic needs only 10 treys to pass Steve Kerr (430) for fifth on the club's all-time list.
Chicago point guard Kris Dunn is expected to play on Saturday, despite a fall to the floor following a dunk on Wednesday that caused him to chip and dislocate two teeth. Dunn was fitted for braces and will continue to be evaluated for concussion symptoms.
Atlanta assigned DeAndre Bembry, Tyler Cavanaugh and Isaiah Taylor to Erie for a G League assignment and transferred guard Josh Magette to the NBA roster.
The Hawks will wear throwback uniforms on Saturday. The red uniforms are the same worn by the team in 1972.
Updated January 20, 2018