Down 90-86 with 17 seconds left in the game, the Hawks put the ball in the very capable hands of Marco Belinelli and the professional shot maker did not hesitate to take the three-pointer that, if successful, would bring Atlanta within a point.
Belinelli missed and, seconds later, the Hawks lost 91-86 to the once-winless Chicago Bulls. After five games on the road (1-4) the Hawks will play their first home game of the season on Friday night against the Denver Nuggets (1-3).
No Schroder, no Bembry, No Ilyasova, no problem for the Hawks as they held a 39-37 halftime advantage over in Chicago on Thursday night. However, Atlanta did not regain the lead again until Mike Muscala made a three-pointer to give them a 78-77 lead with 5:53 remaining in the game.
The Bulls would go back up by five, 83-78, on two free throws by Jeremy Grant with 3:29 on the game clock but Atlanta would again pull closer courtesy of a Marco Belinelli three-pointer. He would hit another to put the Hawks ahead 86-85 with less than two minutes (1:48) to play.
Atlanta would fail to score again as the Bulls would be up 90-86 a minute later when rookie forward Lauri Markkanen (14 points, 13 rebounds) nailed a deep three with 48.5 seconds on the clock.
The loss was the Hawks’ fourth in a row after winning the season opener in Dallas last week. One of the immediate handicaps of not having Dennis Schroder in the lineup was the lack of offensive creativity at the point guard position. The team’s leading scorer, Schroder is adept at drawing fouls, the Hawks on the other hand not so much as they did not have a free throw attempt during the fourth quarter on Thursday night.
Atlanta was also outrebounded 62-40 despite getting 10 rebound games from both Mike Muscala (14 points) and Dewayne Dedmon (four points, four assists). The Bulls outscored the Hawks 28-20 during the third quarter and a large part of that was due to the huge rebounding difference during the game.
Belinelli led the team in scoring with 23 points on 8-16 shooting (5-9 from three-point) while Kent Bazemore took 19 shots to get his 16 points. Malcolm Delaney started his second consecutive game in place of Schroder and was 3-11 from the field for six points to go along with four assists (0 turnovers) and a steal.
Schroder, who did not travel with the team to Chicago, is expected back for the season opener Friday night.