Saturday evening features a battle in the East as the Chicago Bulls (26-37) take on the Atlanta Hawks (34-30). Atlanta will host this one at the State Farm Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 8:00 pm ET.
Both of these teams will be playing their second game in as many days.
For the Bulls, they lost on Friday 108-98 to the Milwaukee Bucks. In the loss, Coby White scored 21 points while Nikola Vucevic had 17 points and 15 rebounds. They will try to get back into the win column Saturday.
The Hawks also picked up a loss on Saturday as they were crushed by the Philadelphia 76ers 126-104. Trae Young led all scorers in the game with 32 points, while Clint Capela had a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
By The Numbers
Offensively, Atlanta holds a slight edge over Chicago. The Hawks currently rank 15th in scoring averaging 112.8 points per game. The Bulls rank 19th averaging 111.3 points per game.
Defensively, it is once again Atlanta with the edge. They rank 16th in scoring defense allowing opponents 111.4 points per game. The Bulls come in a couple of spots behind at 18th, allowing 112.6 points per game.
Bulls Trying To Claw Way Into Postseason
In 11th place in the East, three games behind the 10th place Wizards, the Bulls need prayer to make the postseason. Especially in the condensed 72-game season, they only have nine games to close the gap.
Still, the Bulls will continue to battle nightly and are currently led by trade deadline acquisition Nikola Vucevic. He is currently averaging 23.9 points on 48.9% shooting. He is also averaging 11.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
Unfortunately for Bulls’ fans, they are still without leading scorer Zach LaVine. Not having his 27.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists has been brutal for Chicago and explains why they are just 4-6 in their last ten.
Without LaVine, others like Lauri Markkanen (14.3 points, 5.3 rebounds), Coby White (14.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists), and Thaddeus Young (12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds) need to continue to step up.
Hawks Hope To Improve Positioning
At 34-30, the Hawks are firmly entrenched in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. However, with just a half-game separating fifth from seventh, the Hawks know that they can’t let off the gas.
Unfortunately, they seem to be running on fumes as of late, losing three in a row. Welcoming in the Bulls, the 11th seed in the East, the Hawks hope to snap that streak.
Leading the way for Atlanta has been guard Trae Young. On the season, he is averaging 25.4 points on 43.1% shooting. He is also averaging 3.9 rebounds and 9.5 assists per game.
Clint Capela has also been solid for the Hawks, averaging a double-double with 15.3 points (on 58.7% shooting) and 14.6 rebounds.
The Hawks continue to deal with some injuries as both Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter are questionable for this one.
Taking Bulls And The Points
Neither of these two teams are playing very good basketball right now. The Bulls have lost two in a row while the Hawks losing streak is up to three.
Furthermore, both teams are struggling offensively. Heading into play Friday, the Hawks had averaged just 93.3 points per game over their last three games. The Bulls weren’t too much better, averaging just 101.7 over their last three.
Still, for as poor as the Hawks have played as of late, the Bulls have just seemed a little lost without Zach LaVine. When they acquired Nikola Vucevic at the deadline, the expectation was they would make a playoff push. Instead, the team has just fallen flat.
Especially having the advantage of playing at home, where they are 18-11, take the Hawks to win in this one.