The Bulls Crush the Hawks 93-73. Chicago wins series 4-2, will advance to play Miami.
The scary thing about the Bulls is that when they want to lock up on defense. They really lock up on D. It really didn’t hurt that Atlanta didn’t take very many good shots or move the ball, like at all, so Chicago just made the Hawks look bad. Joe Johnson is a player that kills team offense. When he’s playing well the Hawks look really good but, when he doesn’t he gets exposed. Johnson will get the ball and then everybody knows he’s shooting it. The Bulls know it, the Hawks know it, and hell the fans in the nosebleed section know it. All the Hawks players stop moving as Joe Johnson foolishly and sometimes comically attempts to take on an entire defense on his own, much to the chagrin of head coach Larry Drew. Larry Drew said in the press conference afterwards, “I still need my team to learn ball movement. This team (the Bulls) won’t let you play on one side of the floor so you need to move the ball and spread them out. If one player just holds the ball they just zero in on that player.”
All of the Chicago Bulls started the game with a sense of urgency. They didn’t want to play a game 7 at all. They showed up and handled their business. The Bulls as a team were shooting well so Derrick Rose shot the ball less. Rose distributed more and took less shots for himself. This has mostly to do with the fact that Carlos Boozer made seemingly every shot he took. Boozer was 10 of 16 from the field scoring 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Derrick Rose had 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting to go along with his 12 assists. The Bulls as a team shot 53% from the field. They played as a team good offense and defense holding the Hawks to just 36% shooting. The best thing about the Bulls is that everyone that played contributed in some way. They had multiple players in double figures in Deng who scored 13 points, Noah had 11 points, and Taj Gibson had another 10 point night. The bench took a ten point lead and turned into a 15 point lead. The Chicago bigs did a great job of forcing Atlanta’s big men out of the low post so that they weren’t in a place where they could shoot comfortably. Al Horford went 2 of 10 and scored 7 points as a result. Zaza Pachulia who had a few big games in the series went 0 of 2 and scored a single point.
Joe Johnson and Josh Smith were the offense for the Hawks. Josh Smith really wanted this. He played pretty well but, basketball is a team sport. Having two guys play well and then have the rest of the team to forget to show up isn’t going to cut it. The Bulls locked the Hawks out, particularly in the second half. The Hawks had no answer and as result got beat badly.
Looking forward Chicago v. Miami is shaping up to be a fun series. The MVP against the guy who should have been the runner up. Both of these teams are going to test each other for sure.