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


NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals - Game 4 Recap

Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 6 - Chicago 93, Atlanta 73 – Bulls win series, 4-2


It was such a shame: The Atlanta Hawks played above expectations, though not necessarily above their very high pay grade (especially in the case of the serially overpaid Joe Johnson). Yet, their very last basketball game in the 2010-2011 NBA campaign will only reinforce the longstanding impression that they’re not about to graduate to the next level in the world of professional basketball.

The Chicago Bulls dominated on both ends of the floor, securing a victory over the Atlanta Hawks, and punching their ticket to the Eastern Conference finals. Chicago’s Carlos Boozer – who is going to be the biggest single key to the Bulls’ upcoming series against the Miami Heat - broke out of his recent slump, pouring in 23 points and dishing out 10 assists to lead the top-seeded Bulls to a close-out triumph at Philips Arena in Atlanta on Thursday night. League MVP Derrick Rose was thankful to finally have some help on his Chicago side. The terrific point guard had been carrying the Bulls single-handedly for much of the series, but Chicago used a more blended and resourceful style in this decisive dumping of the Hawks. Rose and his Chicago teammates took control of the game in the first quarter, taking a 28-18 lead after 12 minutes of play. By the time the third quarter had ended, the Bulls had built their lead to 17. The Hawks’ cold shooting kept that lead intact, ensuring the avoidance of a deciding Game 7 on Sunday night in the Windy City. Instead, Chicago will host Miami for the right to go to the NBA Finals.

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Five Bulls scored in double figures on Thursday night. Chicago shot 53 percent from the field. Rose had 19 points and 12 assists.

Atlanta’s aforementioned Mr. Johnson typically sputtered in the postseason spotlight, but what made matters worse for the Hawks and coach Larry Drew was that Johnson’s teammates, Jamal Crawford and Josh Smith, were unable to find an offensive rhythm all night. The Hawks shot just 36 percent, including 1-of-11 beyond the three-point arc. The Hawks had just 14 assists as a team, relying solely on jump shooting all evening. This has been a problem all season long in Atlanta, whose 20-point loss was all too reminiscent of the 30-point whackings the team suffered in last year’s second-round exit against Orlando. The Hawks did extend Chicago to six games in this series – two more than many roundball pundits were expecting – but the no-show against the Bulls will only make Atlantans remember how poorly this team has competed in elimination games over the past few seasons.

Say this much: The Hawks are not about to compete for Eastern Conference titles. That’s what Chicago is about to do over the next two weeks.




By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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