Atlanta Hawks (1-3 SU, 1-2-1 ATS, 1-2-1 O/U) vs. Chicago Bulls (0-3 SU, 2-1 ATS, 2-1 O/U)
NBA: Thursday, October 26, 2017, United Center, Chicago, Illinois, 8 pm ET
Line: Chicago -1.5; Over/Under: 198.5
A pair of Eastern Conference teams struggling out of the gate meet in the Windy City. The Atlanta Hawks are on the road as they take on the Chicago Bulls Thursday night. Atlanta dropped their third straight as they fell 104-93 on the road to Miami Monday night in the second game of a back to back. Chicago remained winless on the season as they were defeated 119-112 on the road by the Cavaliers in a Central Division clash. The Bulls hold a 124-111 advantage in the all-time regular-season series but the Hawks took three of four last season. Chicago did win the final game of the season series last year, taking a 106-104 win here on April 1.
Atlanta Hawks Seeking Defensive Improvement
Atlanta struggled in both games of their back to back as they were dumped by the Nets and then the Heat by double figures. All three Hawks’ losses have come by at least 11 points this season and they’ve allowed at least 104 points in every game so far this year. Atlanta trailed by three after the opening quarter but saw that deficit balloon to 18 at the half. The Hawks trailed by as many as 21 in the game: a third quarter run brought them within four entering the final quarter. Atlanta ran out of gas however and went down to defeat. The Hawks shot 47.4 percent from the floor but turned the ball over 20 times. Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince each had 20 to lead Atlanta in the loss.
The Hawks are 21st in the league in scoring offense with 103.3 points per game this season. Atlanta is tied for 14th in the league in rebounding (44.3 rpg) and 26th with 18.5 assists per contest. The Hawks are tied for 20th in the NBA in scoring defense as they allow 110 points per game. Dennis Schroder leads the team with 23.3 points plus 6.7 assists per contest. Marco Belinelli contributes 13.8 points plus 2.8 boards, Taurean Prince kicks in 13.5 points plus six rebounds a game and John Collins adds 11.8 points with 7.8 rebounds per contest. Dewayne Dedmon, Ersan Ilyasova, Malcolm Delaney, Kent Bazemore (13.5 points) and Mike Muscala have to contribute on the offensive end. The Hawks are tied for 27th in the league by shooting 42.3 percent from the floor as a team. Atlanta is tied for 26th in the league with 7.5 made three pointers a night and 22nd in three point shooting as the team hits a paltry 32.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Chicago Bulls Shoot for First Win of Season
Chicago had a fast start in their game against Cleveland but couldn’t capitalize on the hot start as they lost their third straight to start the year. The Bulls led by 10 three minutes into the game and maintained that 10 point lead after the opening quarter. Chicago still led by one after three quarters but faded in the fourth. The Bulls shot 47.7 percent from the field and knocked down 17 of 33 three point attempts in the contest. The problem was that Chicago saw Cleveland shoot 51.8 percent from the floor, including a 16 of 38 showing from beyond the arc. Justin Holiday had 25 points to lead six Bulls in double figures in the loss.
The Bulls enter this contest 28th in the league in scoring offense with 96.3 points per game. Chicago is 21st in the league in rebounding with 41 boards a night while standing 12th with 22.7 assists per contest. The Bulls have had defensive woes as they are 17th by allowing 107.7 points per contest. Justin Holiday leads the team with 18.3 points plus four boards a game. Lauri Markkanen chips in 16.3 points plus 9.3 rebounds a contest, Robin Lopez adds 15 points plus six boards a night and Jerian Grant is good for 10.7 points plus 7.3 assists a night. Denzel Valentine, Kay Felder, Quincy Pondexter, Paul Zipser and Cristiano Felicio have to pick up the slack until Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis return. Chicago is 26th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 42.5 percent from the floor. The Bulls are 7th in the league with 11.7 three pointers a game and stands 8th by shooting 37.6 percent from beyond the arc.
- Hawks are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 Thursday games
- Hawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Central
- Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
- Bulls are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. Eastern Conference
Both teams have struggled out of the gate and must be better on both ends of the floor. The Bulls are still dealing with a makeshift rotation with Mirotic recovering from surgery and Portis still suspended for breaking Mirotic’s jaw. The Hawks lost DeAndre’ Bembry to a fractured wrist and he’ll miss four to six weeks with the injury. Atlanta still has the dynamic Schroder running the offense and has gotten some good showings from their young guys. Look for the Hawks to take advantage of the shorthanded Bulls to come up with the win here.