02 May 2011
The Bulls drop game one to the Atlanta Hawks 103-95 in front of 22,980 miserable fans. I'll get back to the fans in the minute.
The real story was the guard play of the Atlanta Hawks. Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford scored 56 points combined to lead the Hawks, and shot 20-34. Johnson was 5-5 from three.
The Bulls defense broke down repeatedly - which is very uncharacteristic of this team. Joakim Noah lost his man more times than I've ever seen on defense. Luol Deng, who had a great first half, left Johnson too often on the perimeter, and Johnson made everyone pay.
Then, as if the game couldn't get any worse, Derrick turns his ankle on the last play of the game.
While it remains to be seen what happens with Rose, I'm sure he's going to get treatment and play the rest of the series. I just wonder how he's going to play through the obvious pain. It hasn't really affected his explosiveness thus far. If it does, the Bulls are in serious trouble.
Finally, what a fucking piss poor effort by the fans tonight. I'm not a big believer in crowd energy leading a team to a win, and I really don't think that matters too much to the players, but how awful were they tonight? To see the fans act motionless in the rich seats is an embarrasment. And look at all the fans leaving when there was 2 minutes to go, and it was an 8 point game. Are you really that fucking concerned about traffic? If you are, stay home. I fear this is going to be the case with the rest of the playoff games in Chicago, as the seats are far too expensive for real fans to attend. If you went to the game and left early - fuck you.
Now, there are all the negatives. Here are some of the positives.
Carlos Boozer actually had a stretch in the third quarter where he wanted the ball. In the fourth, he dunked on Josh Smith. That kind of assertive play has been absent from his game in the second half of the year, but the Bulls need him to get going if they're going to win this series, let alone a championship.
Deng had a really good first half - he was taking it to the hoop, active on the defensive end, and making his open shots.
The final positive - it's only game one. This series wasn't going to be a sweep, and I didn't think it would go 5. I thought at least six at the beginning, and nothing that happened tonight has changed it. The reason I feared them more than Orlando was that Orlando can't make the same shots that the Hawks can make. They're good at creating for themselves, they're all playmakers and they have been together for a long time. When they want to, they can play good defense, with a lot of length and speed from their forwards and shooting guards. But regardless, the Buls are the better team, and will show that the rest of the series.
It's weird to say that the defense cost them this game, but look at the Bulls record when they give up 100 points. Contest jumpers, and keep the game at your pace, and you can beat the Hawks. The Bulls will beat them, and win the series.
|< Prev||Next >|