CHI Bulls vs. ATL Hawks Game 3 Preview: Should Hawks Feel Good?

CHI Bulls @ ATL Hawks Preview

The Good Guys’ Lineup:

The Bad Guys’ Lineup:

Who?: Chicago Bulls (62 – 20) @ Atlanta Hawks (44 – 38) [Their regular season records]

What?: Once again, the series is tied after two games. Series is tied (1-1)

When?: May 6th, 2011; 7:00 PM (Eastern Time)

Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)

How?: ESPN(TV), ESPN3D(TV) & 99X FM(97.9 radio)

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Injuries:
Chicago: None to report.
Atlanta: Kirk Hinrich (hamstring) is out.

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The Hawks stole homecourt advantage from the Bulls by winning Game 1. They however didn’t get too greedy, losing the second game. So, should the Hawks feel good about stealing homecourt advantage or should the Bulls feel good because they won Game 2 even though there wasn’t really a Bulls player that played GREAT?

In my opinion, the Hawks should feel better than the Bulls coming into this game. Any time you steal homecourt advantage, you should be happy. I know Derrick Rose still hasn’t had an MVP type of performance, but it’s not like any of the Hawks  players had a great performance in Game 2 either. Joe struggled, Josh struggled, Al struggled, and Jamal struggled. It’s just as hard to expect those 4 guys to all struggle at the same time than Derrick Rose & Carlos Boozer struggling. Anyway, all the Hawks need to do know is take care of business at home and they will win the series. No doubt Hawks should be feeling good right now.

That being said, the Hawks have all the pressure tonight to win. Losing homecourt advantage in the very first Hawks home game this series would be devastating to the team. Not only will the Hawks have to win a road game, it would definitely put a lot more pressure on them to win Game 4. Win Game 3, the pressure is on Chicago to win Game 4.

What (or who) to watch out for:

  • Josh Smith vs. Carlos Boozer. Both have struggled for their teams. Can either player step up tonight?  Boozer still has a turf toe, so I’m not sure about him, but I have a feeling Josh Smith will step up tonight. There’s been so many articles written, many voices spoken, many opinions blogged about Josh Smith’s play recently. I think Josh will realize tonight that he will need to change the way he plays in order for him and his team to do better.
  • The boo birds. Chicago Bulls fan booed Carlos Boozer plenty of times in this playoffs, will Hawks fans boo Josh Smith every time he takes a jumpshot? They’ve done it the past, it would not surprise me if it happens tonight.
  • Derrick Rose & Teague. Teague has a good 2 games, providing a lot of defense and offense for the Hawks. Can he keep that up or will Rose show why he’s the MVP of the league? In my opinion, Teague doesn’t keep up the level of play he has been showing. That’s not to say he will have a horrible game, but I am saying that he won’t score 20 points and make Derrick Rose struggle as much as he does.
  • Rebounding, energy, and effort. The Hawks won that match-up in Game 1, the Bulls won that match-up in Game 2. Who wins tonight? I personally think the rebounding difference will be pretty even, but I have a feeling that the Hawks will come out with more energy and effort tonight.
  • Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, and Al Horford. At least one of them needs to play. None of them did in Game 2, and we all saw the results of that game. Al Horford probably has the best chance of improving his play, he’s not receiving as much defensive pressure as Joe or Jamal. Also, in the past two games, Al has just missed plenty of wide open midrange shots that he would normally hit. I don’t expect that to keep on continuing. Al has been consistent in hitting them all season long and I expect those shots to fall tonight.
  • Philips Arena crowd. If you remember the Bulls vs. Hawks game earlier during the regular season, it was a half-and-half crowd, meaning half of Philips was filled with Hawks fans and the other half was filled with Bulls fans. There was even a point in that game where one would get confused what city the teams were playing in because of how loud the “MVP” chants were for Derrick Rose when he was in the free throw line. Hopefully we won’t see that tonight. This Hawks team has showed up in the playoffs and I sure hope all the Hawks fans will show up too.Also, there is a supposed white-out for the game, but I haven’t heard or seen many promotions about it. We could be looking at the worst white out of the playoffs thus far tonight. Lastly, Philips Arena has tightened up security, checking bags and people will take longer than usual. Will we see a half empty (or full) Philips Arena come tipoff? Philips Arena is opening the doors 30 minutes earlier (doors open at 5:30), so hopefully that will prevent that.

Some things you need (or would want) to know:

  • The starting lineup without Hinrich is Teague/Johnson/Williams/Smith/Horford.
  • The Hawks are 3-3 when using that lineup. 1-1 in the playoffs.
  • The Bulls won the season series vs. Hawks, 2-1.
  • If you missed it, this series won’t be won without help from Josh Smith: Click here.
  • 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.

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Prediction: I’m predicting the Hawks to win this one. I believe Josh Smith will have his best playoff game tonight. Not the best for the rest of the playoffs, but the best so far. I know it’s not saying much, Josh Smith hasn’t had one spectacular playoff game so far, but I have a feeling Josh Smith will have one of those breakout type of moments tonight.

I really hope it happens because do you want to know what I was thinking of Josh Smith’s play after every single game?

 

Tags: Al Horford Atlanta Hawks Carlos Boozer Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose Game Preview Jeff Teague Joe Johnson Josh Smith

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