What cures the Bulls’ ails in 2019? A game with the Hawks

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CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 11: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on December 11, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Let’s face it, they’re been plenty of forgettable moments in an already frustrating season so far.

But there is one thing that Bulls fans have been able to count on early in the 2019-2020 season: A little joy when they face the team from Atlanta. In fact, it’s typically a very easy, stress-free night that comes after a very disappointing loss.

Yes, the teams will meet again, but Jim Boylen’s team has made an early habit of getting well against the Hawks, which they continued on Wednesday night at the United Center. After three straight close losses, including a missed game-winner in a one-point defeat at the hands of the Raptors on Monday, the Bulls made easy work out of a rebuilding Atlanta team as they crushed them 136-102 on Wednesday evening.

It was the team’s highest output of the season by 11 points, snapped a three-game losing streak, and gave a little joy to another light crowd of 15,084 at the United Center.

Zach LaVine enjoyed an outstanding offensive night at Atlanta’s expense, knocking down all seven three-pointers he took along with 12-of-16 shots to help him to a game-high 35 points on the evening. Lauri Makkanen got his fourth 20-point game in his last six contests as he scored 22 on 8-of-9 shots from the floor, while Coby White (19 points) and Thaddeus Young (15 points) led the offensive charge off the bench.

It’s no surprise the Bulls’ offense got well against the Hawks, considering they’ve third-worst in points allowed in the NBA this season (118), and the success isn’t a shock considering the results of the first contest.

That one came after the team blew a 13-point fourth quarter lead in a loss to the Lakers at the United Center, and the Bulls got off the floor with a 20-point win in Atlanta the next evening. At the time, it was the most decisive victory of the season for the team and soothed the blow of the brutal loss.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, there’s only one more game left against Atlanta this season, and it comes soon as the teams meet in Chicago on December 28th. Perhaps Boylen’s squad won’t have to use that match-up to get well after a bad loss, but if they do, a season sweep could make at least that night one to feel good about in 2018-2019.

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