Quantcast 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Semifinals - Chicago vs Atlanta


NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals - Game 3 Recap

Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 3 - Chicago 99, Atlanta 82 - Bulls lead series, 2-1



The Atlanta Hawks are back to being the team that rolled over and took a royal pounding in the second round of last year’s NBA postseason. Just when there was a budding sense that an underachieving team was about to transform its image and turn the corner in the cutthroat world of playoff basketball, the ballclub from Georgia displayed a conspicuous lack of fight on its home court, signaling to all the world that it’s not ready to graduate to the proverbial next level.

A certain Most Valuable Player from the Windy City won’t mind one bit.

Yes, as his Chicago Bulls made the trek to the Athens of the South, Derrick Rose came into this pivotal Game 3 matchup with the Atlanta Hawks in a bit of a shooting slump. Unable to get his offensive game flowing in the previous two games, the recently crowned MVP was looking for a breakout performance. Boy did he ever deliver the goods. Hitting nasty, filthy jumpers left and right in a torrid shooting display his team and coaching staff have been waiting for, Rose poured in 44 points as the top-seeded Chicago Bulls regained the home-court advantage they lost in Game 1 by handling the Hawks on their home floor at Phillips Arena.

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Rose’s brilliance began from the opening tip and never ceased to emerge on Friday night. Rose scored 17 of his team’s 29 first-quarter points. The dynamic guard attacked the rim all evening long, giving the Atlanta defense fits. When left alone, Rose was deadly from the outside. Rose shot 16-of-27 from the field, including four 3-pointers, en route to his career high. The Bulls led from the get-go and grabbed a hold of the series in one fell swoop. The Hawks didn’t do any swooping; they didn’t do much of anything as they conjured memories of their four-game, 101-point loss to the Orlando Magic in the second round of the 2010 playoffs. Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, and the rest of the Hawks’ highly-paid players – with the sole exception of Josh Smith – didn’t provide much of an effort or seem the slightest bit interested in competing at a high level. It was a sorry showing from a team that had a chance to make something of this series and force the Bulls to sweat.



Once again, the best Hawk was an unheralded player who came off the bench to show the hunger his teammates were lacking. Atlanta guard Jeff Teague, who had the assignment of guarding Rose for most of the night, had his second straight solid performance from the offensive side. Teague scored 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting. The second year pro gave the Hawks a lift on Friday evening. Atlanta again struggled with shot selection, relying too heavily on the jump shot and showing no desire to eliminate its persistent (and persistently awful) basketball bug-a-boos. In the end, it was Rose’s heroics that won the day.

Atlanta’s lack of grit didn’t exactly hurt Chicago’s cause, though.


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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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