Young carries Hawks past Bulls; Zion Williamson flies high

Published April 10, 2021, 1:42 PM

by Agence-France-Presse

Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks shoots the ball against the Chicago Bulls on April 9, 2021 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP)

Trae Young bounced back from a subpar outing to score 42 points as the Atlanta Hawks overcame Zach LaVine’s 50-point performance with a 120-108 win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday in Atlanta.

The second meeting of the season between the two teams played out similar to their first game in December when Hawks top scorer Young and Bulls all-star LaVine carried their respective offences in Atlanta’s 124-104 win.

Young, who was coming off a poor shooting night on Wednesday against Memphis when he shot just six-of-12 from the floor, ratchetted up the intensity against the Bulls, who were gunning for their fourth straight win but playing on short rest. 

Young shot 15-of-25 and finished with eight rebounds and nine assists as the wrapped up a four game homestand with the win. Young leads Atlanta, averaging over 25 points per game to go along with almost 10 rebounds a game.

Clint Capela contributed 22 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 10-for-12 from the field for the Hawks. Danilo Gallinari came off the bench to score 20 points for Atlanta, which earned its fifth win in the past six games. 

“It gives everybody a lot of confidence,” said Gallinari. “You win games like this and the next time you’re going to approach it the same when you’re in a tight fourth quarter when you know what you want to do, and the shots you want to take.” 

LaVine scored a career-high 50 points, making 18 of 31 shots from the field, seven of 12 threes, and missing just one of eight free throws. 

He scored 39 points in the first half, which tied for the best scoring production since Phoenix Suns Jamal Crawford had 39 points in the second half in April 9, 2019. 

“I just got in a rhythm,” LaVine said. “My threes started falling and then I can get to the mid-range and get to the hoop. I was trying to get to the free-throw line late in the second quarter because I was so damn tired. Trying to get a little bit of a break.”

Atlanta outscored the Bulls 67-42 in the second half to come from behind for the win.

Elsewhere, Zion Williamson finished with 37 points, a career high 15 rebounds and eight assists as the New Orleans Pelicans responded to a challenge from their coach to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 101-94 in New Orleans.

Pelicans answer challenge

Williamson’s career night came just one game after his record streak of 25 consecutive games with at least 20 points on 50 percent or better shooting ended in a loss at Brooklyn. He now shares that record with former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Shaquille O’Neal. 

“He played the game the way you’re supposed to play the game. He was just tremendous,” said Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Williamson also shot 15-of-28 from the floor for the Pelicans, who have won two of their last six games.

“My teammates were giving me confidence and saying we trust you and every move you make,” Williamson said. “All that stuff plays a part.”

The Pelicans win also comes one game after Van Gundy lashed out publicly at his team after their defence collapsed in back-to-back losses at Atlanta (123-107) on Tuesday and at Brooklyn (139-111) on Wednesday. 

Van Gundy said the Pelicans “got totally dominated at both ends of the floor” and called their defence against the Nets “absurd.”

Brandon Ingram returned from a five-game injury absence on Friday to score 17 points and Willy Hernangomez had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jaxson Hayes chipped in with 12 points. 

Tobias Harris led the Sixers with 23 points, Joel Embiid had 14 on five-of-16 shooting, Furkan Korkmaz scored 12 and Ben Simmons 10.

Also, Jayson Tatum became the youngest player in Boston history to score at least 50 points in a game as the Celtics needed overtime to beat the last-place Minnesota Timberwolves 145-136.

Tatum, at 23 years and 37 days, scored 35 of his career-high 53 points in the second half. Jaylen Brown scored 26 points and Marcus Smart 24 points and eight assists. 

Karl-Anthony Towns had 30 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Timberwolves.