NBA: Hawks start fast, soar to win over Bulls in opener

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Dec 24 2020 12:33 PM

NBA: Hawks start fast, soar to win over Bulls in opener 1
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks handles the ball during a preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies on December 17, 2020 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Joe Murphy, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP.

Trae Young scored 37 points on 10-for-12 shooting, and the Atlanta Hawks coasted to a 124-104 win over the host Chicago Bulls in the season opener for both teams Wednesday night.

Seven players scored in double digits for the Hawks, who raced to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Cam Reddish and Bogdan Bogdanovic finished with 15 points apiece, John Collins had 14 and Danilo Gallinari added 13 in his team debut.

Zach LaVine scored 22 points to lead Chicago, and Lauri Markkanen finished with 21 to go along with a team-high seven rebounds. It marked the first game for the Bulls under new head coach Billy Donovan.

The Hawks set a franchise record with 83 points in the first half, easily surpassing the previous mark of 73 first-half points against the then-Washington Bullets on Nov. 6, 1987.

Atlanta's 42-point first quarter also set a franchise record. The previous high was 40 points, which the then-St. Louis Hawks scored against the Cincinnati Royals on Oct. 21, 1961.

Young led the way with 27 points on 7-for-8 shooting, including 5-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc, before the half. Collins (12 points), Gallinari (11) and Reddish (11) added double-digit points before the break as the Hawks shot 67.4 percent (29 of 43).

Bogdanovic provided a one-man 8-0 run in the second quarter as he made back-to-back 3-pointers, followed by a jump shot, to increase the Hawks' lead from 50-40 to 58-40. Atlanta added a 13-0 run later in the second half behind three free throws by Young, two straight dunks by Collins and then a pair of 3-pointers by Young.

LaVine scored 17 points in the first half to lead Chicago. Markkanen drained six of his first eight shots and had 16 points in 18 minutes at the break.

The Hawks reached the 100-point mark with 5:58 to go in the third quarter. De'Andre Hunter zipped a pass to Bogdanovic, who finished with an easy layup to prompt a timeout by Chicago.

Chicago trailed 111-79 entering the fourth quarter.

Atlanta sprinted past the Bulls despite missing five players from the rotation: Clint Capela (Achilles), Rajon Rondo (COVID-19 protocols), Kris Dunn (knee), Tony Snell (foot) and Onyeka Okongwu (foot).

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