By Japheth Bandi
CHICAGO – For the second time in 72 hours,week, the Chicago Bulls flexed their offensive firepower on the Atlanta Hawks en route to a 131-117 home victory.
Zach Lavine led his crew with an efficient 25 points (10-13 FG) and five assists. DeMar Derozan added 20 points and eight dimes while Nikola Vucevic collected 16 points and 20 rebounds.
Hawks star Trae Young scored 26 points on 10 of 23 field goals while dishing out 11 dimes, But what was otherwise a stellar night for the young All-Star was stained with seven turnovers.
Clint Capela added 18 points and 15 boards for the Hawks, who made 44 of 92 shots (47.8 percent) and 11 of 26 treys (42.3 percent).
The Bulls shot nearly 30 percentage points better than the Hawks in the first half, going on an 18-1 scoring run to take a 74-53 lead at the halftime break.
The high-flying Lavine tied a bow on the night with a breakaway 360 degree dunk that brought fans to their feet with just a few minutes left in the game.
The Bulls are awaiting the return of key guards Lonzo Ball (covid) and Alex Caruso (foot) and are currently without head coach Billy Donavan (covid). Nonetheless, they are firing on all cylinders and they racked up a season-high 38 assists tonight. The fifth straight victory marks Chicago’s largest win streak since December of 2017 and moves them within one game of the Eastern Conference leading Brooklyn Nets.
"There's not a game that goes by that we don't believe we can win. And we all believe in each other. At the end of the day, we're just a team that has fun while playing basketball, and you can't ask for a better team than that," said Coby White, who is still finding his footing after returning from a shoulder injury. He boasted his best game of the season with 17 points and 12 assists.
Atlanta moves on to their second game of a six game-road trip without 15 players due to injury and the NBA's health and safety protocol. They are 3-8 in their last eleven games and have plummeted in the conference standings at 15-19.