Five observations from the Hawks’ 119-114 victory over the Bulls Wednesday night.
1. This is how they did it.
Dwyane Wade hit a pull-up jumper to give the Bulls a 110-100 lead with 3:02 remaining. The Hawks called timeout. The final three minutes would lead to one remarkable victory.
Paul Millsap, Dennis Schroder and Tim Hardaway Jr hit back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers in a span of 63 seconds. Suddenly, the Hawks trailed by a single point and still 1:43 remained.
“That was big to come out of the timeout and Paul to hit that 3 to make it 110-103,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I thought that was maybe the biggest shot of them all. He gave us a ‘Hey, we still have a chance.’”
Schroder then scored on a drive to the basket and the Hawks had their first lead of the game, 111-110. The Hawks trailed for 45:51 and were tied for :43 until the basket.
The Hawks finished the game on a 19-4 run. During that span they were 5 of 6 from the field, 6 of 7 from the free-throw line and had seven rebounds. The Bulls were 2 of 9 and had two rebounds.
“Keep fighting,” Kent Bazemore said. “Stayed the course. Jimmy (Butler) and Dwyane (Wade) were amazing tonight. They shot the crap out of it. They made tough shots. We just stayed with it. We got stops down the stretch. Those last two minutes, the urgency was heightened. … We started playing our style of ball for those last four or five minutes and came out with a big win.”
2. The Hawks were 17 of 30 from the 3-point line, including 4 of 5 in the fourth quarter, for a 57 percent total. The 17 3-pointers is tied for third most in Hawks history.
Hardaway and Schroder each had four and Millsap and Thabo Sefolosha each had three to pace the effort.
“They did some tricky stuff on the defensive end,” Millsap said. “They were switching pick-and-rolls. We weren’t able to get as many open looks as we wanted. We got into our second, third, fourth, fifth options and continued to move the basketball and finally got what we wanted and knocked down shots.”
3. The Bulls entered the game as the top rebounding team in the NBA, averaging 47.4 per game. They outrebounded the Hawks 42-39 for the game.
However, the Hawks held a 15-10 advantage in the decisive fourth quarter. Players said after the win that turned up intensity on defensive and the boards was the biggest reason for the win.
Howard played 10:12 of the final 12 minutes and had 12 points and three rebounds.
4. The Bulls tied the game at 112-112 when Butler hit a pull-up bank shot with 44.3 seconds left. The Hawks took the lead for good when Bazemore found Howard for an alley-oop dunk with 34 seconds remaining.
“We were playing super fast,” Bazemore said. “We had guys flying around. It’s fun when you are playing that way because they are scrambling trying to find us, he’s down there wide open. He threw his hands up and I just threw it up there to him and he finished it. If we could play like that for 48 minutes, or a big chunk of it, we are a very dangerous team.”
The Hawks iced the game as Schroder and Sefolosha combined to go 5 of 5 from the free-throw line.
5. The Hawks have won 12 of the past 15 games. Players know exactly where they stand during the current run of success.
In the Eastern Conference, they are four games behind the first-place Cavaliers, one game behind the second-place Raptors and a half-game behind the third-place Celtics.
“We hit some big shots,” Howard said of the win. “We stayed composed. It shows our growth as a team. There are games when we’ve been down 10 and we let it go. It shows our growth. Right now, we have an opportunity to really gain some ground. I think that is what everybody is focused on.”