Round 2, Game 6 Recap: Chicago Bulls vs Atlanta Hawks

Posted by By at 15 May, at 12 : 13 PM Print

The Chicago Bulls are going to their first Eastern Conference Finals since MJ was wearing the white and red thanks to a series clinching 93-73 victory over the Hawks last night. It was probably the ideal game to head into a huge series with the Heat that starts on Sunday for Chicago. Boozer finally got going. The bench played, collectively, their best game of the series. Rose played more under control and was more of a facilitator. The Hawks have now never made it past the second round since they moved to Atlanta from St. Louis in 1968.

This was the Carlos Boozer the Bulls hoped they were getting when they signed him in the off-season. He was supposed to be the inside presence to Derrick Rose’s outside presence. Okay that’s really backwards because Rose spends more time in the paint than Boozer does, but you get the idea. He was 10-16 from the floor for 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Rose took the role of a more efficient point guard and largely played a supporting role. His 14 shot attempts were the fewest he’d taken yet this postseason, his 12 assists were the most he’s had, and his 19 points were the fewest he scored in the series against Atlanta. Luol Deng added 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals. Joakim Noah chipped in with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks.  Chicago’s bench shot 11-23 from the field and were a combined +12 when in the game. Omer Asik’s hustle and defense was infectious. Taj Gibson continued to play very well in his minutes on the floor.

Atlanta’s 36% shooting from the floor wasn’t going to get it done. Only one starter shot over 50% and that was Jason Collins, who was 2-2. Credit the Bulls’ defense for the rest of the team’s struggles. Joe Johnson was one of only two Hawks in double digits. He had 19 on 7-18 shooting and Josh Smith had 18, going 7-15. Atlanta’s series star, Jeff Teague, left temporarily with an injury to his wrist, but came came back with it taped up to play unaffected by it. Jamal Crawford was once again held under double digits

This game had all the makings of a Bulls blowout from the beginning and that’s exactly what it was. In my game 5 recap I wondered if Atlanta would come out and play like their backs were against the wall or essentially roll over. We now know the answer to that one. The Hawks weren’t going to win this game, that was evident after being down 27-17 at the end of the first quarter. Chicago clearly didn’t take comfort knowing game 7 would be back in the United Center and went for, and delivered, the knockout blow early.

Chicago moves on and the Hawks are, once again, back to the drawing board. The firing of Mike Woodson and hiring of Larry Drew was supposed to help fix the lack of playoff success and that didn’t happen. The core won’t change so this might be what Atlanta is destined to be, a good regular season team that just doesn’t get it done in the playoffs. Think Eastern Conference Phoenix Suns. The Bulls were the better team heading into the series and while they didn’t show it every night, they showed exactly why last night.

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