Chicago Bulls rout Atlanta Hawks 131-116 behind Coby White's 42 points, keeping alive their hopes for an NBA playoff berth

Julia Poe, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

The Chicago Bulls advanced to the second round of the NBA Play-In Tournament for the second consecutive year, cruising to a 131-116 victory against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night at the United Center.

The Bulls will face the Heat at 6 p.m. Friday in Miami with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs on the line.

Coby White delivered a decisive performance after a breakout regular season, totaling 42 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and zero turnovers. It was the highest-scoring night for White in an NBA game, but play-in tournament statistics don’t count.

Nikola Vučević supported White with 24 points and 12 rebounds and DeMar DeRozan added 22 points and nine assists.

Despite missing the final week of the season and being questionable as of Wednesday morning, Ayo Dosunmu (right quad bruise) and Andre Drummond (left ankle sprain) played. Dosunmu keyed in defensively to hold Trae Young to 4-for-12 shooting while scoring 19 points. Drummond played only 11 minutes but managed four rebounds and three blocks.


The Bulls toyed with a lead throughout the first half, but they flipped a switch in the third quarter, ripping off an 18-2 run highlighted by acrobatic moves to the basket from Dosunmu and White and a thunderous dunk from Javonte Green.

The Bulls will face the Heat in a rematch of last year’s play-in tournament matchup to determine which team advances to face the top-seeded Boston Celtics. The game will provide a decisive test for the Bulls – one that could be played without Heat star Jimmy Butler, who might have suffered an MCL injury in Wednesday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers that could sideline him indefinitely, according The Athletic.

If the Bulls win in Miami, they will face the top-seeded Celtics in a Sunday matinee. It would be their first trip to the playoffs since the 2021-22 season, when they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 in a first-round series.

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