Atlanta, Ga—Bogdan Bogdanovic hit a 3-pointer with 1:41 left gave Atlanta the lead, and guard Trae Young scored 39 points in the Atlanta Hawks’ 130-124 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.
After Bogdanovic’s 3 made it 119-118, Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan’s had a turnover, and Young extended the lead with two treys in the final 1:12 of the contest.
Even with a left ankle sprain, Young torched the Bulls all night. He went 11-of-18 shooting from the field and 10-of-10 shooting from the free-throw line, along with 13 treys, three boards, and a steal.
Young has now tied Allen Iverson for the eighth-most 30-plus point, 10-plus assist games with 47.
“It was numb for a little bit,” Young said of his ankle. “I put a lot of tape on it today so I really couldn’t feel it turn. Really that’s when I had the most pain was when I turned it, not necessarily when I go forward and back, it’s when I turn. Just put some tape under the ankle braces and felt kind of numb, but it was alright.”
The Hawks began the night 10th in the conference, trying to finalize the last spot in the play-in tournament while still hoping to climb higher in the final 20 games of the regular season.
For the Hawks, who are struggling for a spot in the playoffs, a victory over quality team like the Bulls was important.
Chicago had a balanced offensive attack, with five players scoring 15 points or more, and the team’s Big Three of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic all scoring 21+ points on 50% shooting or better.
The Bulls took a 63-56 lead into the break.
Zach LaVine opened the second half with a deep 3-pointer for a 66-56 lead, the Bulls were 10 of 19 and on pace to match their season high of 18 3s in a game. They made only four 3s the remainder of the contest, finishing 14 of 26.
Atlanta guards Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter also enjoyed an huge offensive night, combining for 37 points with little resistance from Bulls guards. Clint Capela (12 points, 11 rebounds) and De’Andre Hunter (18 points) also had big nights for the Hawks.
Chicago had issues holding onto the ball (the team coughed it up 14 times, and Atlanta scored 19 points off turnovers). The Bulls as a team got to the line just seven times, compared to 28 free-throw attempts for Atlanta. The Hawks made 24.
“Yeah, the pressure has been on for us to keep going and figure this out as fast as possible and get some wins,” Young said. “We don’t have many left in the regular season. We have to win as many as possible. Of course, beating a team like them, with how high their seed is, is big.”
Clint Capela scored off an offensive board minutes later to spark a 10-2 run that gave the Hawks an 84-76 advantage. DeRozan’s last-second jumper gave the Bulls a 92-90 advantage entering the final frame.
After Chicago took a 110-104 lead off a Vucevic jumper with 7:05 left in the fourth, Atlanta closed the game out on a 26-12 scoring advantage through the rest of the contest. Bogdanovic and Young did most of the damage down the stretch.
Young made seven 3-pointers, including two after Bogdanovic’s go-ahead 3, to seal the win.
“We’ve been talking about finishing,” McMillan said. “The last game that we played them in Chicago, we didn’t finish. I thought we were in a similar situation going into the fourth quarter; you had the lead and we didn’t make shots under a minute. We didn’t get stops. Tonight, we did. We did the things that you need to do as far as winning a game and made big shots, hit our free throws and we got stops when it counted, in the last five minutes.”
Chicago suffered its third consecutive loss and fell percentage points behind Philadelphia in the battle for second place in the East, each 2 1/2 games behind Miami.
“We’ve got to have way, way better habits against elite teams,” Chicago coach Billy Donovan said. “I think we’re learning the tough way all these little lessons, so to speak. There was just a lot, a lot of breakdowns. We fouled entirely too much.”
DeRozan and LaVine each had 22 points for the Bulls. Nikola Vucevic had 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Bulls: Host Milwaukee on Friday night
Hawks: At Washington on Friday night.