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Stupid, Hilarious Loss Perfectly Sums Up Joyless Hawks Season

Ayo Dosunmu #12 of the Chicago Bulls reacts as he scores the game-winning basket as time expires in their 110-108 win over the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on December 21, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Things are pretty sour in Atlanta. Two years after making the conference finals, one season after Trae Young's first All-NBA nod, and a few months after trading three picks and a swap for Dejounte Murray, the Hawks were supposed to soar to the top of the Eastern Conference this season. A win-now trade at the expense of your future is kind of a disaster if it does not help you actually win in the present, and the Hawks are not winning. A.J. Griffin's emergence and Onyeka Okongwu drawing high praise from a two-time MVP have been the two positive storylines this season, though they've been dwarfed by a bunch of stinky ones. John Collins is still on the trading block for some reason. They can't stay healthy. Easily the most damaging story was the revelation that an injured Trae Young skipped out on a Hawks game after getting into it with head coach Nate McMillan at practice. That alone is bad; what was more revealing was the subtext of the report, which is that Young is hard to play with and is an asshole in the locker room. In Athleticese, that's "the latest sensitive situation [...] has caused many people within the Hawks to question Young’s leadership approach."

Yikes! That's ominous. At least John Collins returned from an ankle injury last night. Surely the Hawks could get a win against the equally pissy Bulls, right? Surely they'd stay above .500 and keep the Bulls from entering the rockfight for the last play-in spot, right? Ah, well, no, in fact they suffered a distinctly Hawksy loss. With the game tied, DeMar DeRozan air-balled a turnaround. The ball hit Collins straight in the chest and the timing of his jump was off, so instead of simply grabbing it, he kind of flailed towards it while Ayo Dosunmu laid it in without issue. Worst of all, Collins fell down directly under Dosunmu and was at the core of the Bulls' celebratory dogpile.

Collins used to be a pretty good rebounder, though he's seen his rebounding percentage decline every season. I don't really know how to explain that other than chalking it up to Bad Vibes. Also, speaking of which, Chris Haynes has blessed us with a characteristically oblique report about Trae Young possibly considering the future eventuality of deciding to think about maybe asking for a trade. What a bummer of a team. Can't say the same for their 2021 first-round opponent! Maybe salary-dumping Kevin Huerter to make room for someone who doesn't fit that well next to Trae was a bad idea!

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