Bulls’ second-quarter flurry overwhelms Hawks for fifth straight win

The “Big Three” were solid Wednesday, but the entire Bulls offense operated like a machine, finishing with a season-high 38 assists. Guarded by Javonte Green and Ayo Dosunmu, Hawks sharpshooter Trae Young had his hands full all night.

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It was one of those don’t-blink moments.

Unfortunately for the visiting Hawks, they did.

Midway through the second quarter of Wednesday’s rematch from two nights earlier, the Bulls and Hawks were doing what they always seem to do the last few seasons — trade baskets with little resistance.

Chaundee Brown Jr.’s layup cut the Hawks’ deficit to two at the 6:04 mark before halftime, and Nikola Vucevic answered with an 18-footer, keeping the tennis volley alive and well.

Then it was as if a storm came rolling across the United Center floor. With just under five minutes left before halftime, the Hawks had nowhere to hide, nowhere to find shelter.

After a Javonte Green dunk, a Zach LaVine three-pointer, a LaVine layup, a Green layup, a Vucevic jumper, another LaVine three and an Ayo Dosunmu three, that two-point deficit just six minutes earlier had turned into a 21-point margin.

Few teams can recover from a 24-5 flurry like that. The Hawks (15-19) had 13 players in the health and safety protocols, so it would be virtually impossible for them as the Bulls prevailed 131-117 for their fifth straight victory.

The Bulls (22-10) were down some bodies, but they at least had their “Big Three’’ in LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Vucevic. More important when playing the Hawks, they had two players determined to make life difficult for star point guard Trae Young.

After Young torched Coby White at the start of the game Monday, acting head coach Chris Fleming turned to Green and Dosunmu with elite defenders Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso on the shelf.

Dosunmu took the challenge personally, holding Young to an 0-for-5 output when he guarded him Monday. When he continued the battle in the rematch, it took a logo three from Young to finally get one on the rookie.

“When I got the assignment, when I first checked him, pretty much all the other stuff goes out the window,’’ Dosunmu said. “Now it was just about feeding my competitive nature.’’

That’s why Dosunmu is so appreciated by his coaching staff.

“With Ayo, he’s got a really unique approach where he doesn’t have a whole lot of fear, and he wants to know what he has to do to get on the floor,’’ Fleming said. “He’s like, ‘OK, tell me what it has to be.’ And he approaches every day like that.’’

Young did finish with 26 points but on 10-for-23 shooting, including 2-for-7 from three-point range.

And Dosunmu wasn’t alone, as Green started the game on Young.

“Both those guys did a really good job,’’ Fleming said. “We just have to continue to work on that side of the ball.’’

The “Big Three’’ didn’t need to play hero on this night. LaVine finished with 25 points, DeRozan scored 20 and Vucevic had 16 with 20 rebounds.

The Bulls had a season-high 38 assists, with White leading the way with 12.

“Just came out and wanted to be aggressive,’’ White said. “We’re a very unselfish group. We took what the defense gave us.’’

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