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NBA play-in tournament: Coby White scores 42, leads Bulls past Hawks

Chicago Bulls guard Coby White scored 14 points in the fourth quarter of a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday in Atlanta. Photo by Caroline Brehman/EPA-EFE
Chicago Bulls guard Coby White scored 14 points in the fourth quarter of a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday in Atlanta. Photo by Caroline Brehman/EPA-EFE

April 18 (UPI) -- Coby White scored a career-high 42 points to lead the Chicago Bulls past the Atlanta Hawks in the final first-round game of the NBA play-in tournament. The Bulls now need just one more win to clinch a playoff spot.

White scored 24 points in the second half, including 14 in the fourth quarter of the 131-116 triumph Wednesday at the United Center in Chicago. He made 15 of 21 shots, while also chipping in nine rebounds and six assists.

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"I just wanted to be aggressive and take what the defense gave me and just try to lead," White told reporters. "Coming into games, I just want to try to impact winning on both sides of the ball. That's what I focus on."

The Bulls will now face the Miami Heat, who lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in Wednesday's other play-in game, to determine the No. 8 seed and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Bulls outshot the Hawks 56.8% to 45.1% and held a 47-34 edge in rebounding. They also outscored their foes 72-44 in the paint and trailed just briefly in the first quarter. The Hawks took the lead four times through the first three minutes and kept the game close until the Bulls ended the first quarter on a 16-2 run and never looked back.

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The Hawks opened the second quarter with a 14-0 run ultimately outscoring the Bulls 45-33 in the quarter, but still trailed 73-67 at halftime. The Bulls answered with a 22-3 run and carried a 110-92 edge into the fourth.

They increased that lead to as many as 23, with White taking over down the stretch, to secure the win and eliminate the Hawks from playoff contention.

Bulls center Nikola Vucevic totaled 24 points and 12 rebounds in the victory. Forward DeMar DeRozan chipped in 22 points and nine assists. Guard Ayo Dosunmu scored 19 points.

Veteran guard DeJounte Murray scored 30 points for the Hawks. Center Clint Capela and guard Trae Young chipped in 22 points apiece. Capela also recorded 17 rebounds, while Young dished out 10 assists. Forward Bogdan Bogdanovic logged 21 points in the loss.

The Bulls will face the Heat at 7 p.m. EDT Friday in Miami to determine the final playoff spot for the Eastern Conference. The 76ers beat the Heat 105-104 on Wednesday in Philadelphia to claim the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.

In the Western Conference, the Sacramento Kings will face the New Orleans Pelicans at 9:30 p.m. EDT Friday to determine the No. 8 slot.

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