Guard Kris Dunn wins the battle with Trae Young, but Bulls get crushed by Hawks

SHARE Guard Kris Dunn wins the battle with Trae Young, but Bulls get crushed by Hawks
SHARE Guard Kris Dunn wins the battle with Trae Young, but Bulls get crushed by Hawks

If it had been a game of one-on-one, Bulls point guard Kris Dunn would’ve gotten some satisfaction.

He shot 5-for-11 from the field Wednesday, made a three-pointer and had only one turnover.

Meanwhile, much-hyped Hawks rookie Trae Young went 1-for-12 from the field, including 1-for-7 from three-point range.

The Bulls brought Young in for a pre-draft workout last June and were interested in selecting him even though they insisted Dunn was their guy moving forward.

So Dunn should’ve taken his first matchup against Young personally.

With 6:15 left in the third quarter, Dunn picked Young’s pocket and stormed in for a nasty one-handed slam, letting out a primal scream and making sure Young heard it.

When asked about the showdown, however, Dunn took the high road.

“Never, never,’’ Dunn said when asked if he wanted to send a message to Young. “Come and play defense, do what I do.’’

“What I hope is we take every game personally,’’ coach Jim Boylen said. “I understand that situation, but I want us to take every game personally, that we’re representing the Bulls, and the Bulls across our chest is very important. And we play appropriately for that. I would like it not to be just an individual situation. More about representing the Bulls and the city. That’s what I want.’’

Unfortunately for Boylen, there were more matchups than Dunn-Young on the United Center floor. And Atlanta (15-32) won most of them.

The Bulls (11-37) allowed 42 points in the first quarter and big man John Collins scored a game-high 35 points in the Hawks’ 121-101 victory.

Those looking for development in the rebuild would be disappointed.

But the loss kept the Bulls in the mix for one of the top three draft picks, as the Cavaliers and Knicks also lost.

Dunn, however, wasn’t interested in that side of the business.

“Gotta guard, gotta play defense,’’ Dunn said of the performance. “You just can’t play offense. Gotta guard. There are five guys out there, and to have a good defense, everybody has to be in sync, be one. We all gotta know what we’re doing. In this league, one mistake can lead to an open shot, but when there are multiple mistakes, it can lead to easy buckets.’’


• Bulls coach Jim Boylen sees team toughness improving since taking over

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The glaring stat that stood out again was the Bulls’ 8-for-26 shooting from three-point range.

The space-and-pace Hawks shot 15-for-40 from three-point range, including 6-for-9 in the first quarter.

Boylen has been criticized for the basic offense he has been running since taking over for Fred Hoiberg on Dec. 3, but he again promised that once the basics were grasped, he would open up the outside shooting and pace.

“I feel like in my heart 45 [three-pointers] might be too many for this group [to shoot in one game]; 25 is not enough,’’ Boylen said. “To give you an exact number, I don’t have that number.

“What we talk about is taking threes in the rhythm of the offense. I go back to those decisions, and recognizing when we’re open, recognizing what shots to take. We want to recognize who we are within the offense.’’

NOTE: Jabari Parker missed the game with a strained right patellar tendon.

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