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NBA Playoffs: Will the Bulls defense smother the Hawks again?

May 6, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

Game 2 looked like a Chicago Bulls game.

Their defense just dominated the Atlanta Hawks, holding them to 73 points on 33.8 percent shooting. Then turn Derek Rose loose, and if he can get 25 points — even if it takes him 27 shots — that will be enough.

The key to Game 3 really is pretty simple — the Hawks need to find more offense from somewhere. Anywhere. Do that and they stand a chance. But teams have been trying to do that for a long season now.

Last game the only Hawk who had success was Jeff Teague, the backup point guard who was dramatically underutilized during the season but has exploded in two games against the Bulls. He had 21 points on 14 shots and he did that by getting to the rim (he was 4-of-6 inside 10 feet). The Bulls will look to secure their game inside, but if Jeff Teague is the guy that beats them so be it. That’s not their primary concern.

Nor is Josh Smith so long as he keeps shooting jumpers. We’ve gone into this already today, but the Bulls are playing off him on the wings daring him to shoot. And he is. And he’s missing. The Bulls are good with that, Smith needs to attack and be disciplined.

For the Hawks, this is about Al Horford. He was 3-of-12 in Game 2, but he is their best player. He is guy who has to win this game for the Hawks. They’ll get points from Jamal Crawford because that is what he does.

For the Bulls, they need Luol Deng to keep getting them buckets until Carlos Boozer arrives. Not sure when that will be, the turf toe is clearly an issue.

The Bulls are going to defend like they did in Game 2 the rest of the way. Rose will be Rose. For the Hawks to really prove they can win this series and didn’t just get lucky and steal a game on the road, they need a win Friday night. And they need a lot of Horford to do that.

  1. gmsingh - May 6, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    Is the Pope Catholic?

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