First off, let me start by saying that this game meant more to the Atlanta Hawks than the Chicago Bulls. The Atlanta Hawks needed this win. I’m sure they stewed over the unbelievable comeback win that occurred at the United Center just days earlier, and although the Bulls were the third team they would face on the end of the Hawk’s first back-to-back-to-back sequence, they were ready. They handled the Bulls from the outset… They applied playoff level defense against D.Rose and thanks to an offensive onslaught from the three pt. line, they ran away with the game.
I said in the game preview that Atlanta wasn’t going to just lay down and let us beat them. What I did NOT count on was the Bulls starters laying down, dying and conceding the game before it was over… Mercifully they were benched with three minutes left in the third and would not return.
Bulls getting pounded by a Playoff team we dominated last season is a tough pill for fans to swallow… Bottom line is, the 62-win season is over, this team is re-establishing itself and a 7-2 start with seven games played on the road ain’t bad.
- Bulls starters came out flat, period. It was tough to notice HOW flat they were however because like last season, Bulls came out of the gate slowly and that’s not always indicative how they will perform the rest of the game…
- Derrick Rose just did NOT have that look in his eye. He has not looked like himself since the Grizzlies home opener. From the Hawks home game on 1/3 til’ this game, Derrick has appeared to be a beleaguered young man who needs a hot meal, a hug and kiss from his mom and his own bed. That black arm band he wore over the ace bandage to support his injured elbow was being favored and carried around like a soft cast. I don’t care what Derrick says, he banged that elbow pretty hard and I expect for him to still be wearing in on Monday vs. Detroit.
- Noah just looked BAD. Maya asked me about Noah’s offensive production on my little radio spot and I am again, at a loss when discussing this athlete. I mean sometimes, he’s just the hardworking, rebound-hungry, tip-in monster you love and other times, he looks like he’s a tad bit under-conditioned, out of position, slow and ineffective. Note: This is another game where we can start to complain about the “Boozer/Noah on-court chemistry” since neither had a significant game and we lost.
- Deng looked a step slow and exhausted and I don’t even remember Brewer. I think he made a couple of shots early… Goes w/o saying whatever production he provided was nominal
- The bench mob came to play and I’m so crushing on Asik, Gibson, Korver and Jimmy Butler right now. Lucas III is a little pistol as well this season. Good for them that they played so well. They brought the game back within 2 pts and then the starters laid another egg before the half, allowing the Hawks to go on an 18-2 run. Epic fail…
- Josh Smith should be made to watch this tape weekly to remind himself of the type of player he should be night in and night out. If he begins to understand how to balance shot selection, ball movement and aggression at the rim, Atlanta will be a much tougher out than last year’s playoffs. Josh’s statline: 25pts/5rebs/5assts/6blks/4stls <– That’s big time on the end of a back to back to back. He had a great game against the Bobcats so I did expect him to establish himself against the Bulls.
- The rest of the Hawks were stellar… Shooting out of this world! They shot a blistering 56.6% and 75% from three… Really? Radmanovic was 5-5 from the three point line and the Bulls just couldn’t stop him. The Hawks played together and it reminded me of game 4 of last season’s Eastern Conference Semis where they moved the ball, got away from the iso’s and really beat us convincingly. Pretty scary looking at what the Hawks can be down the line…
- Rip didn’t play again. That’s two games he’s had off, but unfortunately, with this compacted schedule, it was only two days. How long does it take for groin strains to heal anyway?
- Horford, Smith, Teague and Johnson had to be brought back into the game in the fourth to make sure the Bulls reserves, who were still playing spectacularly pulling the Bulls within 14 down the stretch, did not make the game close.
- C.J. has started running and dribbling again and is still listed as day to day.
- “…I thought we were prepared, but I didn’t like the way we started the game… Same as in Chicago. We got into a big hole. They were good. They got up into us. We danced with the ball. Offensively, they were terrific, they moved the ball. We dug out of the hole in the 2nd quarter and they went 18-2 to give themselves a cushion again. Second half, we did the same thing we did in the first half. We never got set with our defense. Too much one-on-one… Too much dancing with the ball.” Coach Tom Thibodeau
- “…They came out aggressive, got us out of our game, playing hard. I give them credit. They came out and played the way they’re supposed to play.” Derrick Rose
- “…Sometimes, as a coach its frustrating because in a season like this, on some nights, there will be nothing that you can do to help your team. Just sit them down, move on to the next game.” Coach Mike Fratello – NBATV
- Our only back-back-back… I will do a game preview for all three because I’ve got a busy week coming up. Mon: Home vs. DET | Tues: @ MIN | Wed: Home vs. WAS
Let’s go Bulls Fans… No reason to be sad. We are 7-2 and still have an outside chance of making it to the top spot of a power ranking list on Monday… We had a hell of a week minus Saturday’s beating.