The Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls will be in a pressure cooker this Thursday, as they play in an elimination game in the Play-in Tournament. Will the Bulls stave off Trae Young and company and move on to the next phase? Or, will the Hawks pull off a mild upset in Chicago?

Catch this game live on Thursday, April 18, 2024 at 9:30 AM, Manila time

Away: Atlanta Hawks (36-46, 15-26 Away)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Trae Young
  • Dejounte Murray
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
  • De’Andre Hunter
  • Clint Capela

The Hawks are limping into this matchup versus Chicago in Windy City. They can even consider themselves lucky that they have a game to play for after the regular season, as they somehow made it to the Play-in Tournament despite losing all of their last six games. But that losing skid will have to end at one point, and they could be due for a win this Thursday. However, if Atlanta is to upset Chicago on the road, it will have to do so without versatile weapon Jalen Johnson, who is out with an ankle injury. 

The good news for Atlanta is that its dangerous backcourt duo of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray is healthy. The Hawks will go as far as where those two talented guards will take them, but people shouldn’t be ignoring Bogdan Bogdanovic and Vit Krejci. These two will have to step up to help cover the void left open by Johnson’s absence. Bogdanovic has averaged a team-best 23.3 points in three games versus the Bulls this season while shooting 56.8 FG% and 45.8 3FG%. Krejci has appeared just once against the Bulls this campaign but he had 18 points with a perfect 6/6 shooting from deep in a 113-101 road win over Chicago earlier this month.


Home: Chicago Bulls (39-43, 20-21 Home)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Coby White
  • Ayo Dosunmu 
  • Alex Caruso
  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Nikola Vucevic

The Bulls are a mediocre team this season, but at least they made it to the Play-in Tournament and playing at home in this do-or-die matchup versus the Hawks on Thursday. Chicago defeated Atlanta in the first two meetings; the Bulls thumped the Hawks at home last December, 118-113, and trounced Atlanta again last February on the road, 136-126. Chicago isn’t a great offensive team, but it looks like one when up against the Hawks. 

The Bulls, who finished the regular season just 22nd in the league with an average of 112.3 points per game and 22nd as well with a 53.4 eFG% put up 127.0 points and a 53.8 eFG% in the two wins opposite the Hawks. Conversely, the Hawks ended the regular season third-worst in the entire NBA with 120.5 points allowed per outing. With the Hawks also missing Johnson, that takes away a key defender Atlanta could use to slow down DeMar DeRozan, who torched the Hawks for 28.3 points on 49.1 FG% back in the regular season.


Spread: Atlanta Hawks (+3.5)

Over/Under: Over (221.0)