NBA Basketball

Hawks stand in way as Bulls eye rare winning streak

Now that the Chicago Bulls have put an end to their 10-game losing streak, they are ready to point things in the right direction.

The Bulls will try to make it two in a row when they host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

The Bulls have won consecutive games only once this season -- those coming in late December when the Bulls were going through a 4-3 stretch. Their win on Dec. 28 against Washington turned out to be the last experienced by the club until Monday, when they defeated NBA-worst Cleveland 104-88.

"It stinks to lose 10 games in a row," Bulls guard Kris Dunn said. "A game like this can galvanize us."

This will be the second of four meetings between the Hawks and Bulls. Chicago took the first game 97-85 in Atlanta on Oct. 27. The Bulls have won the past five games against Atlanta. These teams also will play March 1 in Atlanta and March 3 in Chicago.

The Hawks could not contain guard Zach LaVine in the first meeting. The guard had 27 points and 11 rebounds in that game. LaVine scored 25 against the Cavaliers on Monday and is averaging 22.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

The Bulls have been better recently on offense.

They have scored 100-plus points in nine straight games, their longest such streak since last January. Chicago averages 101.1 points, 29th in the league through Monday.

Chicago had five players in double figures in the win against Cleveland, although Lauri Makkanen's streak of 20-point games ended at two. He scored 13.

"Our energy and spirit were good (early in the game), kind of gave us momentum into the rest of the game," Chicago coach Jim Boylen said.

But Atlanta's main problem in the first game was turnovers. The Hawks committed 22; they average 18.8 turnovers per game, last in the NBA and nearly three turnovers per game more than the next-worst team, Phoenix.

Those turnover issues, combined with the overall inexperience of the club, has caused problems, as it did Monday in Atlanta's 122-103 loss to visiting Orlando.

"In the first quarter I thought we were good," said Atlanta rookie point guard Trae Young. "After that we were out of rhythm, up and down from there. I don't know what happened."

Atlanta has played better over the past month, going 8-9 in the last 17 games. During that stretch, the Hawks have led the league in offensive rebounds and rank second in rebounds per game.

Much of the credit belongs to John Collins, who has 19 double-doubles -- more than anyone from the NBA draft class of 2017. Over the last six games Collins is averaging 20.5 points and 10.0 rebounds, and is shooting 56.8 percent (50 for 88) from the floor.

Young is averaging 16.1 points and 7.2 assists for the season, but also 4.1 turnovers per game. The team has been helped by the return of forward Taurean Prince, who missed 15 games because of an ankle injury. Prince averages 13.9 points.

The Bulls are without rookie center Wendell Carter Jr., who had surgery Monday to repair a ligament in his left thumb and will miss as much as 12 weeks. The Hawks are still without veteran guard Kent Bazemore (ankle), but should get back rookie guard Kevin Huerter for Wednesday's game. Huerter missed the Orlando game between of a sore neck.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 22, 2019

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