Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks will meet in the 9/10 matchup for the No. 8 spot in the East playoffs. You could argue the stakes are highest in this matchup because whichever team loses goes home, as there will be no second chance, and the start of an extremely long offseason begins. The Bulls have quietly been playing better basketball since the All-Star break, a surprising turn given Zach LaVine has been out for practically most of the season. But the emergence of Coby White and the consistent clutch performances of DeMar DeRozan have given Chicago life, and they have a chance to extend their season on Wednesday night.

The Hawks are in a similar position as the Bulls, though they just got their star guard Trae Young back. Atlanta's season hasn't really been marred with injuries like Chicago's, but they've steadily been hovering along the mediocre line in the East. 

This is a pretty even matchup, so it could be a close one in the closing minutes. As we prepare for the Bulls and Hawks matchup, here's what you need to know ahead of the second Eastern Conference Play-In game.

Bulls vs. Hawks

  • Date: Wednesday, April 17 | Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: United Center -- Chicago
  • TV channel: ESPN | Live streamfubo (try for free)
  • Odds: Bulls -3; O/U 221.5


Bulls: You could say the Bulls are peaking at the right time. Since the All-Star break they've had the 12th-best offense, and DeMar DeRozan ranks eighth amongst scorers since that time. The defense has been pretty abysmal, ranking 27th, but they've been staying in games because of their ability to score. Between DeRozan and Coby White, the Bulls have a potent scoring duo, but their defense will need to tighten up a bit if they want to win this game.

Hawks: Throw the stats out the window, this really comes down to Trae Young. We've seen in high-stakes situations how he can come alive for his team and make the opposing team look foolish. He hasn't gotten the same attention as other young guards in the league, but Young can catch fire and scorch a team for 40 points. If he turns in one of those performances, there won't be much that Chicago can do, and given the Bulls already have a porous defense, he has a great chance of having a big night.


I'm betting on Young to come alive against the Bulls. I think he's going to walk into this game wanting to prove something, and even with Alex Caruso likely draped all over him, I still think he will lead Atlanta to a win. The Pick: Hawks +3