Atlanta Hawks: Bulls 86, Hawks 73
Chicago–The Hawks couldn’t keep Chicago off the boards or D-Rose away from the basket. They took bad shots and also missed 10 attempts within five feet of the basket. No one aside from Teague or J.J. could score.
- “And still, with four minutes left, it was a six-point game,” Jamal said. “We were right there.”
- And then on the next four possessions the Hawks reverted to the form they showed for most of the game: J.J. threw the ball away, J.J. missed a challenged iso jumper, Josh’s 3-point attempt rimmed out and Al missed an open 20-footer.
- One way to view this game is the Hawks had a chance to win despite a poor offensive game and getting pounded on the boards. But they also have to lament the possessions they wasted by taking poor shots and committing careless turnovers and the extra possessions the Bulls got by picking off scraps around the basket.
- The Hawks never really had a sustained stretch of good play. “We will take the split,” Joe said. “We wanted to come down here and get two but we got one, so we will take it. Now everything is in our favor. We have got to go home and take care of homecourt.”
- Marvin started 1 for 6 from the field but at least he stopped shooting and got some rebounds. Al’s attempts to bang his way to baskets against Noah weren’t pretty but he facilitated the offense with six assists and had 14 of Atlanta’s 39 defensive rebounds.
- Josh, on the other hand, didn’t offer much beyond that burst of defense and dunks in the third quarter after he’d angrily ripped off his headband.
- “I was [ticked] off at myself,” he said “I understand what I need to do to be more effective with this ballclub, especially at the offensive end. I think Game 3 will be a different look for me.”
- And why was he angry with himself? “Turnovers, a couple of unforced errors on my part, maybe a couple of untimely shots. Just a couple–maybe one or two. It is just frustrating because I know I can give this team a little bit more on the offensive end. Right now I am not doing my part on that end. I know I have got to do more and be efficient like I’ve been all season.”
- Josh was 0 for 6 from beyond 15 feet, same as in Game 2. Unlike in the opener, he didn’t mitigate that with consistently good work on the boards or on D.
- Smoove channeled his emotions into a positive during that stretch with the blocked shots (helped by Boozer’s insistence on trying to shoot finesse baskets over him). But Josh’s lack of focus appeared to passive work on the boards and some loose turnovers.
- “That is something that he has to figure out as a player,” Al said. “If he does, that would show growth. I feel like he’s been growing every year but when he gets that he is going to be on a good position.”
- When is Smoove at his best for the Hawks? “Running on the break, slashing to the basket, getting blocked shots and when it calls for an open shot, he takes it,” Al said. “When he plays like that, plays poised like that, I think that’s when he’s at his best.”
- The Bulls, like the Magic in the first round, realized that it’s not enough to just induce Joe and Jamal into long Js. You also have to make them give up the ball or chase them off those shots, too, and so the Bulls turned up the pressure.
- The results were similar: less ball movement, more contested shots. Joe and Jamal were 4 of 15 from beyond 15 feet. “They made a conscious effort to not let Joe and Jamal beat them,” Josh said. “As teammates we have to do a better job when we catch the basketball so it can make them second-guess if they are going to double them.”
- “The ball really didn’t move,” Joe said. “We had a lot of tough shots and contested shots. That hurt us. Offensively we got in a rut. Everybody wanted to score; everybody was thirsty. That killed us a team.”
- There were times when Teague held the ball at the top of the key while trying to feed a teammate on the wing or in the post. “It’s a lot of responsibility on my part to make sure guys get touches in spots where they can be effective,” Teague said. “Tonight they turned up the intensity and made it hard for us.”
- With the way Teague’s playing, the Hawks might be better off letting him loose instead of slowing things down so he can look for others.
- “I was just trying to win,” Teague said. “The opportunity comes, I have to be aggressive just so they respect me on the floor.”
- “I think with Teague playing it kind of throws them off because they really haven’t seen him play much,” J.J. said. “I think it’s hard for them to gear up, especially the first two games.”
- “I thought he played a brilliant game tonight,” L.D. said.
- Teague again led the effort to prevent D-Rose from taking over. “I think we did a pretty good job,” Teague said. “He made 10 of 27 shots. I guess we will take that.”
- Teague is doing a really nice job of making D-Rose work at both ends. But either Rose’s ankle isn’t right or he just doesn’t have it in him to be aggressive because he has so many passive moments.
- The Hawks had Jamal on Rose and Teague on Korver in the fourth quarter. It sort of worked because Rose wasn’t really looking to go to the basket and Teague makes up for the size disadvantage by staying in Korver’s chest. “You have to crowd and get into him,” Teague said. “He’s a lights out shooter and when he gets his feet set he has a quick release.”
- Zaza played just eight minutes. Even though he seemed a bit slugging early, I think more Zaza and less Josh might have been in order since the Hawks were getting outmuscled at the basket.
- More Damien and less Marvin might have been a good thing, too.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat