Recap for the people who didn’t watch it:
Carlos Boozer was listed as unlikely and Luol Deng was a game-time decision before the game. Carlos Boozer sat out (as predicted) and Luol sucked it up and still played. Kurt Thomas replaced Carlos Boozer in the starting lineup.
In the first quarter, both the Bulls and the Hawks struggled from the field. Both teams played great defense against each other early into the ball game. The Bulls were going inside, as were the Hawks. Both were just either missing shots or turning the ball over deep inside. However, the Hawks did attack (like L.D said they would), which was a good sign. The Hawks eventually did settle for jumpshots, but they were good shots, not many were forced. Jamal Crawford provided a spark offensively when he first came off the bench, however, he probably gave up as many points (if not more) to C.J. Watson who got easy looks late in the 1st. After the sub-par performances from both teams, the Bulls led by 2 points.
In the second quarter, the Bulls’ bench had their way. C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson, and Omer Asik provided a great spark off the bench, giving the Bulls a 7 point lead early in the 2nd quarter. However, the Hawks quickly answered back by moving the ball around and getting good shots. The Hawks’ D also tightened up in the second quarter, making sure that Derrick Rose settle for jumpshots and the other Bulls’ players to tough looks. The combination of the ball movement and solid defense gave the Hawks a 2 point lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Bulls took over. The Hawks’ offense stopped moving the ball around, there was no inside presence, and turnovers was commonplace. Kirk Hinrich also got into foul trouble (picked up 4th foul) early in the third quarter. Jamal Crawford replaced Kirk Hinrich and Crawford had the tough task of guarding Rose. As predicted, Rose had his way. He would either score on an iso play or he would get a screen by one of his big men and easily drive it in (Jamal needs to learn how to defend the pick and roll).* Joe Johnson decided to try to bring the Hawks by himself. I wouldn’t say he completely failed, Joe did make shots….but Joe didn’t do as well as he probably wanted. Joe actually drew a foul at the end of the third quarter, but he couldn’t manage to make one of the two free throws. The Hawks only managed to score 10 points in the third quarter, and the Bulls led by 12 after three quarters.
*Seriously, Coach Drew needed to take out Jamal during that time and put in Jeff Teague. The Hawks were struggling offensively but it’s not like Jamal’s shot was any good during that 3rd quarter. Jamal Crawford’s D on Rose was just embarrassing. I’m not sure if Teague would have slowed down Rose, but I can’t imagine him doing any worst.
In the fourth quarter, same story. The Hawks offense continued to stop with one player and turnovers occurred. The defense of the Hawks also continued to fail to slow the Bulls’ defense down. The Hawks’ and the Bulls’ eventually gave their benches playing time late in the 4th quarter (since the deficit was so big) and even then, the Bulls had their way. The game eventually ends.
Score: Hawks: 76 | Bulls: 94
Why Hawks fans should be worried:
- The Hawks have lost 4 in a row.
- The Hawks lose to another top tier team. Playoff time looks to be harsh.
- The Hawks continue to show they can’t run their gameplan for a full 48 minutes.
- Joe Johnson continues to be Average Joe.
- Josh Smith continues to take jumpshots.
- There are no signs any of the five bullet points will change soon.
My other Noteable Notes:
- First things first, it wasn’t all of the Hawks’ horrible play that made the Hawks lose. The Bulls are a legit good team. They took advantage of the Hawks’ weak perimeter defense and they played solid defensively all game long. They killed the Hawks on the rebounds as well.
- Damien Wilkins, give this guy more playing time. His statline doesn’t show much (2 points, 3 rebs, 3 asts), but at least he looks like he impacts the game.
- Marvin, where were you at?
- Al Horford disappeared. Partly because of the Bulls’ defense, but I would say most because of his hesitancy (is that a word?). It’s not like Al didn’t get touches, he did. He chose not to take advantage in any of them. I saw too many plays when Al should have taken the shot but instead looked for a pass.
- Josh Smith had a pretty good game if you take away the jumpshots. He scored pretty easily when driving the ball or posting up. I still don’t get why he chooses to keep taking jumpshots. LD needs to make sure he’s not at the perimeter.
Next up: The Portland Trailblazers at Philips Arena. Can the Hawks finally win one or will they extend their longest losing streak of the season to 5? Hopefully there will be more Hawks fans than Blazers fans this time.
Final Thought: The Hawks should stop worrying about homecourt advantage (3.5 behind the Orlando Magic) and now start worrying about the New York Knicks (2.5 games behind Atlanta) or Philadelphia 76ers (3.0 games behind Atlanta) catching up to them.