Chicago stomps Atlanta to set final NBA play-in matchup with Miami

Coby White swipes the ball away from Atlanta’s Dejounte Murray (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Chicago Bulls fought to live another day after blasting Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks, 131-116, to enter the final round of the ongoing NBA play-in tournament on April 18, 2024.

With the lopsided victory, the Bulls staged last year’s Eastern Conference play-in rematch with the Miami Heat and will be seeking revenge after suffering elimination at the hands of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

Chicago quickly dictated the pace of their do-or-die play-in game against the Hawks after blowing the game wide-open with a 40-22 advantage after the first quarter.

However, just when the Bulls thought they could sustain their firepower in front of their home fans, the Hawks regrouped in the following frame to turn things around and trim their deficit to just a single digit at the half.

The Hawks kicked off the second quarter with cruel intentions and hosted a demoralizing 14-0 run that resulted in a Chicago timeout.

Despite the Bulls answering back in the final five minutes of the second, the Hawks were able to keep themselves within striking distance and got to within six points.

In the third quarter, Chicago replicated its first-quarter pace led by the duo of Coby White and DeMar DeRozan who sparked the Bulls’ insane 37-point performance.

The Bulls then ballooned its cushion back to 20 points and officially shut Atlanta’s door after maintaining their double-digit lead until the final buzzer.

White spearheaded Chicago’s relentless attack after scoring a career-high in points, dropping 42 markers built from an efficient 15/21 shooting from the field.

The pesky and energetic guard was everywhere on the court draining buckets while also tallying nine rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

Meanwhile, Nikola Vucevic became the Bulls’ second-best scorer of the game after chipping in 24 points, 12 rebounds, and two assists. DeRozan on the other hand added 22 points, nine dimes, and six boards.

Chicago will only have a day of rest before challenging the Heat to a rematch on April 20, 2024, to be held on Miami’s home floor.