News Trending Viral Worldwide

Coby White And The Bulls Torched The Hawks And Will Play The Heat For The 8-Seed

coby white
Getty Image

Wednesday’s Play-In games in the East followed a similar script to those in the West, with a thrilling opener in the 7-8 game before an absolute rout in the 9-10 matchup.

After the Sixers escaped with a win over the Heat in the opener, the Chicago Bulls lit up the extremely porous Atlanta Hawks defense en route to a 131-116 win to extend their season and send Atlanta into an offseason of uncertainty. The Bulls jumped out to a massive lead in the early going, taking a 40-22 lead after the first quarter. They met almost no resistance from Atlanta, with DeMar DeRozan setting the tone in the halfcourt, and then were able to get out and run in transition thanks to some sloppy turnovers by the Hawks.

However, the Hawks would go on a 14-0 run to open the second quarter, cutting the deficit to just a couple of possessions thanks to a heater from Dejounte Murray, who finished the game with 30 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.

Chicago would eventually find their flow again offensively in what became a shootout, taking a 73-67 lead into the halftime break. It was in the third quarter that the Bulls really stretched things out, with Coby White leading the charge. White continued his breakout season with one of the best performances of his career, scoring 42 points on 15-of-21 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and six assists. The fifth year guard was lethal going downhill, carving up Atlanta’s weak point of attack defense and getting to the rim pretty much at will, before showing off his range from three to bury the Hawks for good.

White got help from DeRozan (22 points, nine assists), Nikola Vucevic (24 points, 12 rebounds), and Ayo Dosunmu (19 points on 8-of-12 shooting), as Chicago could simply get whatever they wanted offensively. They’ll now go to Miami to face the Heat on Friday for the 8-seed and a first round series against the Boston Celtics, and will be coming in with plenty of confidence after their performance against the Hawks. That game in Miami also might be against a Heat team without Jimmy Butler, who suffered a knee injury on Wednesday night in Philly and is feared to have suffered an MCL injury. Unfortunately for the Bulls, they also didn’t emerge from the first Play-In game unscathed, as Alex Caruso suffered a foot sprain early on when teammate Andre Drummond stepped on him, and his status for Friday is in doubt.

For the Hawks, they will go into an offseason where they are in desperate need of a roster refresh. The tandem of Dejounte Murray and Trae Young seems to have run its course, as they just don’t seem to click together at all. Beyond just that dynamic, the defensive effort all year was rough and was particularly awful on Wednesday night, and something needs to change sooner than later. While Murray was the one on the trade block entering the deadline, Young’s name has also come up in rumors and there’s some very interesting decisions to be made about their roster as a whole — Young’s performance in this game being the last impression of him this season doesn’t help his cause, at least with fans.