ATL Hawks @ CHI Bulls Preview
The Good Guys’ Lineup:
Who?: Atlanta Hawks (44 – 38) @ Chicago Bulls (62 – 20) [Their regular season records]
What?: Once again, the Hawks have series lead after one game. Hawks lead series (1-0)
When?: May 4th, 2011; 8:00 PM (Eastern Time)
Where?: United Center (Chicago, IL)
How?: TNT(TV) & 99X FM(97.9 radio)
Chicago: Derrick Rose has a Grade 2 ankle sprain but will play.
Atlanta: Kirk Hinrich (hamstring) is out.
Will things change? That’s the question the team and their fans are asking. The Hawks won Game 1 in the first round against Orlando, but couldn’t manage to steal away the 2nd game. Can the Hawks be greedy this time around by winning tonight and taking a 2-0 lead or will the Hawks go back to Atlanta with the series tied (1-1) again?
The pressure is all on Chicago tonight. Losing this game probably means losing this series. The Hawks meanwhile, have nothing to lose. Even if they lose tonight, they still have homecourt advantage. Will the added amount of pressure for Chicago to be successful help the Bulls or hurt the Bulls?
What (or who) to watch out for:
- Derrick Rose. He struggled Game 1. He wasn’t aggressive and his jumpshot was struggling pretty bad, some credit can go to Jeff Teague but Rose’s subpar play could be because he has an injury. Will the combination of Jeff Teague’s defense and Rose’s hurting ankle once again hinder Derrick Rose? Also, Derrick Rose received the MVP award yesterday. Will that give him extra motivation to perform tonight?Lastly, Rose didn’t attempt one single free throw in Game 1. I have a feeling that will change tonight.
- Who has the better offensive inside presence tonight? Both teams scored in the paint a good amount of times in Game 1, but that was because of the guards and the slashers. None of the big men really scored enough inside. Basically, it’s a battle between Boozer & Noah vs. Horford & Smith. If the Hawks want to win this match-up, it starts with Josh Smith. He has to limit his jumpshots and stay inside. The Hawks can’t afford another jumpshot-happy Josh Smith tonight, as Joe Johnson will probably not have the same type of Game 1 he had.
- Speaking of Joe Johnson, he’s another player to watch, him and Jamal Crawford. Both players were big in Game 1. They carried the scoring load and both made huge plays offensively down the stretch. They’re turning out to be a dangerous scoring duo in the 4th quarter.You also have to watch to see if they’ll try to force things. Hopefully we won’t see Joe go Iso-Joe in every play, and hopefully we won’t see Jamal play “hero basketball” every time he touches the ball. I don’t see the Hawks being successful that way.
Some things you need (or would want) to know:
- If you missed it, it is Jeff Teague’s time and not LD’s time…: Click here.
- If you missed it, here’s my Hawks/Bulls Playoff Series Preview: Click here.
- If you missed it, here’s a Q&A I did with Chicago Bulls expert, Josh Hill: Click here.
- If you missed it, here’s my Hawks/Bulls Playoff Series Preview I did with @TheNoLookPass: Click here.
- The starting lineup without Hinrich is Teague/Johnson/Williams/Smith/Horford.
- The Hawks are 3-2 when using that lineup. 1-0 in the playoffs.
- From @DevonNBA, teams that take a 2-0 series lead are 224-14.
- The Bulls won the season series vs. Hawks, 2-1.
- The Hawks were outscored by a total of 48 points in the 3 games.
Prediction: I predicted the Hawks to lose Game 1 and they proved me wrong. Hopefully that trend continues because I’m picking the Bulls to win tonight. Man, how crazy would it be to see this Hawks team head back to Atlanta with a 2-0 series lead? Can you just imagine it?!