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On Monday night, the Chicago Bulls traded blows with the Atlanta Hawks for the third time this season on. It was DeMar DeRozan's 1,000th NBA game, so hats off to the seasoned veteran.

Entering this matchup, each team had won once in the season series. The game got off to an abysmal offensive start on both sides (a 21-17 Q1 score says all you need to know, really), but things improved as the game proceeded. DeRozan (26 points) and Patrick Williams (18 points and 10 rebounds) helped push the Bulls to a three-game winning streak as Chicago picked up a 111-100 victory.

The Setup

The Bulls came into Monday's game on a two-game winning streak, fresh off a win over the Detroit Pistons in France. Zach LaVine hit his stride over the first nine games in January, averaging 29.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 4.6 APG while shooting 47.2% from the field, 39.3% from three, and 87.3% from the free-throw line on 7.9 tries per game. The Hawks (7-3 in their last 10) sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, two games above the Bulls in the standings.

The Bulls' games with the Hawks this year have been intense to say the least. On Dec. 11, the Hawks snuck away with a 123-122 victory with a tip-in at the buzzer as overtime came to an end. Then, on Dec. 21, the Bulls eked out a last-second 110-108 victory as Ayo Dosunmu grabbed a DeRozan miss and hit a buzzer-beating layup.

The Summary

The Bulls and Hawks started things off by putting on a clinic — you know, if you'd like to see a clinic on missing and poor offensive decisions. Both teams were playing in a fashion that was reminiscent of the basketball I watched seventh graders produce at recess today. Errant passes, travels, tons of bricks—it was all there. But, hey, recess basketball can have some fun moments.

The Bulls had gone a franchise-record 29 games straight scoring 25 points or more in the first quarter leading up to this game. As the first quarter ended, Chicago had a solid 17 points. The good news is the Hawks only had 21, so it was still a close match.

DeRozan had five points on just 1/6 shooting while the recently-engaged Derrick Jones Jr. had five off the bench. As a team, the Bulls shot just 24% from the field, 11% from three, and 67% from the free throw line in the first quarter.

The second quarter started with a lot more excitement. The Bulls closed the gap quickly with better shooting and a fast-break Alex Caruso dunk off a steal.

The teams did more trading blows from there. Chicago attacked the basket and tried to push the tempo. Meanwhile, the Hawks grabbed offensive rebound after offensive rebound to get second-choice points. It got to the point that we got an Andre Drummond sighting. The big man made an immediate impact on the glass and at the hoop. Drummond had four points, a poster, and a rebound within two minutes. The dude needs more playing time.

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Something clearly clicked with the Bulls in the second quarter. While they gave up 27 points to the Hawks, Chicago scored 40 in the second behind a mixed offensive attack. As the half concluded, LaVine was leading the Bulls with 12 points. DeRozan was close behind with 11, while Nikola Vucevic had five and 12 boards. It led to a 57-48 Bulls lead at half.

The Hawks started heating up from three, and Trae Young had his flopping game on point, which started steering some momentum their way. While the Bulls wouldn't go away, especially with DeRozan having his midrange game working, this game started to show all the signs of a typical Bulls-Hawks matchup this season.

There was also the issue of Chicago becoming the dysregulated Bulls, a form they take on when things get difficult and they just start chucking up wild shots and getting sloppy. Coby White attempted a dunk as the shot clock expired instead of an easy lay-in. He didn't wind up beating the clock, and the Bulls found themselves trailing 76-75 with 1:07 left in the third quarter fresh off of a Trae Young flop getting an offensive foul called on Patrick Williams.

Alex Caruso came to the rescue for Chicago offering a level of poise the Bulls desperately needed. He hit a layup, forced a Young turnover off of an attempted flop, and helped the Bulls get things tied up at the end of the quarter—78 to 78.

The Bulls came out in the fourth quarter with energy. They forced a shot clock violation before Patrick Williams threw down a put-back dunk with authority.

The Hawks wouldn't go away, but the Bulls continued to press the issue. Coby White hit a clutch three, then Williams hit Vucevic with a dime off an offensive rebound for another dunk to put Chicago up 89-81 with just over eight minutes remaining.

The quarter continued to go back and forth with the Bulls doing just enough to stay in front. Williams came in clutch as the game wound down, both with getting buckets and rebounds. In the end, Chicago won 111-100, which marked the largest margin of victory between the two teams this season.

DeRozan paced the Bulls with 26 points to go along with six assists. LaVine had 20 points and six rebounds. Meanwhile, both Vucevic (14 and 17) and Williams (18 and 10) had double-doubles. The Bulls won their third straight and moved into ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

What's On Tap Next?

The Bulls have a back-to-back with a 6 PM CT game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. The Pacers are neck and neck with the Bulls in the standings, so it will be an important game as the Bulls fight for relevancy in the Eastern Conference. We'll see what Chicago has in store for us.

Tune in to the Bulls On Tap podcast for postgame reaction and further Bulls commentary all season.