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Chicago Bulls

Bulls can't win back-to-back against Hawks

Bulls guard Kris Dunn and center Robin Lopez (right) fight for a loose ball with Atlanta Hawks center Alex Len during the second half Sunday at the United Center.
Bulls guard Kris Dunn and center Robin Lopez (right) fight for a loose ball with Atlanta Hawks center Alex Len during the second half Sunday at the United Center.

CHICAGO – Trae Young was on his way to another big outing before he got thrown out of the game.

That left the Atlanta Hawks without one more important player.

They still had enough to beat the Bulls and get some payback for a quadruple-overtime loss at home two nights earlier.

Alex Len scored a season-high 28 points and Atlanta held on to beat the Bulls, 123-118, on Sunday.

Len finished three points shy of his career high. He also made a personal-best five 3-pointers.

Young scored 18 before getting ejected early in the third quarter for taunting the Bulls’ Kris Dunn.

“I’m proud of my teammates, the way they played with everybody being out,” Young said. “It’s unbelievable. To get a win on the road is tough.”

The Hawks had to get by again without leading scorer and rebounder John Collins. The 6-foot-10 forward missed his second consecutive game because of flu-like symptoms. But Atlanta pulled this one out after losing 168-161 to the Bulls at home Friday.

Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls with 19 points, though he shot just 6 of 21. Antonio Blakeney scored 17, but the Bulls came up short after winning five of six.

The teams went down to the wire again, coming off the third-highest scoring game in NBA history.

The Hawks had to sweat out this one after leading most of the way.

Markkanen hit two free throws to cut it to 118-117 with 1:14 left before Atlanta’s Kevin Huerter answered with a floater. With fans ready to let out a deafening roar, Dunn missed a wide-open 3 from the wing with 21 seconds remaining.

Huerter then missed two free throws with 15.7 seconds left. The Bull’s Wayne Selden got the rebound. But after a timeout, Markkanen missed a 3 from the top of the key. The Hawks’ Kent Bazemore got the rebound, then hit one of two free throws to make it a four-point game with 7.7 seconds remaining.

“It was fun,” Markkanen said. “They’re a young team. We’re a young team. We’re going to be here for a while.”

YOUNG TOSSED

Young, who scored a career-high 49 in the previous game, got tossed after nailing a pull-up 3-pointer early in the third to make it 78-62. He stood with his hands on his hips as he stared at Dunn, leading to his second technical and an ejection.

Both players seemed surprised, with Young saying, “They made a call, I live with it. I looked at someone and that was about it.”

But the way referee Mark Ayotte saw it, Young crossed a line.

“Taunting is directed at an opponent specifically,” he told a pool reporter. “Celebration is not directed at an opponent.”

Hall of Famer Reggie Miller disagreed, tweeting : “What’s happened to my beloved NBA game? So damn SOFT and SENSITIVE now, nooooo way Trae Young should be given a technical for this.. I would have been broke and out of the league in 2 years. ... #LetBallersBall.”

Young and Dunn also had an exchange in the first quarter that resulted in both players getting technicals. There was some contact between the two after Young took a shot with play stopped following a timeout call. Dunn also appeared to shove Young in the back of the head or neck before Lopez got between them.

“I don’t think I was too upset at all. It’s basketball at the end of the day,” Dunn said.

TIP-INS

Hawks: Collins did not travel with the team. ... F Omari Spellman could miss the remainder of the season because of a high left ankle sprain. Spellman was helped to the locker room late in the third quarter of Friday’s game. He had an MRI on Saturday. The Hawks said he will be re-evaluated in a month, and coach Lloyd Pierce wasn’t sure if Spellman will return this season. “That one’s tough,” Pierce said. “He sprained it very (badly). It’s a legit ordeal.” The No. 30 overall pick in last year’s draft, Spellman is averaging 5.9 points and 4.2 rebounds. ... F Taurean Prince, awaiting the birth of his second child, missed the game.

Bulls: The Bulls held out F Otto Porter Jr. for precautionary reasons after he played 54 minutes on Friday. He recently missed a game because of a strained lower left leg.

UP NEXT

Hawks: At Miami on Monday night.

Bulls: At Indiana on Tuesday night.

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