Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bulls Beat Hawks 86-73, Tie Up Series at 1-1

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls were able to grind out a rather uneventful victory against the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night, winning 86-73. After being presented the 2010-11 MVP trophy, Derrick Rose went to work by posting 25 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Joakim Noah was the real hero of the game with 19 points and 14 rebounds (7 of which were offensive). Luol Deng finished with a ho-hum 14 points and 12 rebounds. Jeff Teague lead the Atlanta Hawks with 21 points.

While it's nice to see 3 players on Chicago with double-double's, don't be fooled, this was a terrible game for both teams. Derrick Rose was able to muster up 25 points but only after taking 27 shots. Carlos Boozer was a complete non-factor with 8 points and 11 rebounds. Boozer's tendency to leave the man he's defending and hope he misses is going to start backfiring real soon if Marvin Williams ever gets going. I know the point of signing Boozer wasn't for his defense but he's not providing offense either. The whole season I've kind of looked at him as a temporary solution for the Bulls and I have a feeling next season he may be on the trading block if he's still performing like this. Maybe Gar Foreman could snatch up K-Love before he bolts for Oklahoma City in 2012.

The Hawks shot selection last night was absolutely TERRIBLE. That combined with the energized play of Joakim Noah and the constant double teams of Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford contributed to this win. Will it work for another 3 games? It's possible but regardless, the Bulls rhythm is off and Derrick Rose looks tentative to drive the ball into traffic with that sore ankle. While he played the ankle injury off like it was fine in the post game interview, there's something definitely wrong with his game. Rose has never been known to be a great defender but Jeff Teague scored 21 points which is someone who has no business scoring on the MVP.

Kyle Korver had an off night as well shooting just 1-9. I have no worries about Korver finding his shot because once he does, he rarely misses. Korver is really our x-factor clutch guy and I have faith he can knock down anything in a clutch situation. The rest of the bench is a totally different story though. With the exception of Kyle Korvers measily 5 points, the rest of the bench scored just 9. Lucky for the Bulls, the Hawks bench was even worse scoring a combined 13 points (11 were from Jamal Crawford).

I should probably stop griping because it's going to be a long, boring series full of sloppy playing and gritty defense. The Bulls travel to Atlanta for the next 2 games in the series. Game 3 is on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. Hopefully the Bulls can close out this series in 5 so they can prepare for a probable matchup against the Miami Heat.