Atlanta Hawks: Bulls 95, Hawks 83
Chicago–The energy and effort were there for the Hawks but their execution and poise (and maybe their legs) were lacking at the end.
- The Hawks gradually clawed back from their early 15-point deficit. They survived foul trouble and poor shooting early. They held their own on the boards and limited the Bulls to 63 points over the final three quarters.
- But the Hawks couldn’t finish. Now they have to win Thursday at Philips or the season’s over.
- “We are not content with a loss but we can hang our hats on that we competed,” Josh said. “In Game 5 in Orlando you know what the outcome was with that.”
- The Hawks scored 69 points through three quarters with 36 of those in the paint. They shot 53 percent, had 11 points on the break and just six turnovers. They worked for good shots Chicago’s relentless D.
- In the fourth quarter the Hawks scored 15 points with six in the paint. They shot 31 percent, had two points on the break and four turnovers. They settled for shots against Chicago’s relentless D.
- “For the first three quarters I thought we did a really good job,” L.D. said. “In the fourth quarter we lost our composure. I don’t know if it was their pressure or we did not have the juice.”
- “We were confident,” Al said. “We weathered the storm after we were down early in the game. We stayed with it. I think they just made more plays than us and they were aggressive going to the basket. That might be something we need to do more of instead of settling for jump shots.”
- Al had a couple bad turnovers in the fourth quarter. You could see a turnover coming when he put his head down and tried to post up Noah on the baseline. Throwing that outlet pass away was even worse.
- Teague has been the most consistent player in the series for the Hawks. His line was impressive enough but watching the matter-of-fact way he makes difficult, important plays is truly remarkable.
- “He is doing exactly what they want him to do,” D-Rose said. “He is not turning the ball over. He’s been very tough, especially in transition.”
- Rose made his usual assaults on the basket and usually came away with a score or a foul. Smoove and Al challenged at the basket but it didn’t seem as if there was as much resistance on the perimeter.
- “He made unbelievable plays,” Josh said. “He came off the pick-and-rolls and exploded, drew attention and was able to find guys on the perimeter. When he is doing that for that ball club and being aggressive they are hard to beat.”
- The traps on Rose didn’t work as well, either, mostly because Deng made plays off the dribble when the ball came around to him.
- Josh’s early foul trouble was costly. He was playing with zip when he went out. With him on the bench, Deng and Rose found easier passage to the basket.
- The Bulls shot 28 free throws to 17 for the Hawks but they also had 43 field-goal attempts in the paint compared to Atlanta’s 32. By the end, Teague was the only guy going to the basket for the Hawks.
- Teague thought Rose fouled him on a layup and again when Teague was headed down court with a steal.
- “You cannot go on the road in the fourth quarter down by one point and feel like the officials made bad calls or even the calls that were made in the fourth quarter affect you,” L.D. said. “A call probably didn’t go our way but at that point you cannot allow that to take you out of the game. That is just not being mentally strong. We have to play through it.”
- J.J. went into traffic late and also didn’t get a call. “I just try to play through it,” he said. “It is what it is. The refs are not going to change it so you might as well get back. I know one time when Jeff scored, I think he may have thought he got fouled, but we all should have got back on defense because Derrick Rose went right down and laid it up. Those are the plays you really can’t have in the fourth quarter.”
- Smoove got heated when Boozer swiped at him after his dunk. “He cleared me with an elbow to the jaw,” Josh said. “Nobody is going to do that to me, I don’t care who you are. I’m a man first. It was intentional.”
- Zaza kept the Hawks afloat in the second quarter. He was the only bench guy producing.
- Jamal was just 1 for 9 and never could shake free. He also lost Bogans on those two 3-pointers in the first quarter.
- Marvin managed one rebound in nine minutes. The rest of the bench guys didn’t get in until garbage time as L.D. shortened the rotation.
- The Bulls closed with Taj Gibson, Asik and Brewer instead of Boozer, Noah and Bogans. The three bench guys combined for 13 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks in the period.
- “They had a good rhythm with their bench guys and they rode them as long as they could,” Drew said. “I was actually in that situation in the third quarter, we were in a really good rhythm so I left Jamal on the bench a little bit longer. Their bench guys did a good job. They played with a lot of energy and a lot of intensity.”
- This game was testier and more physical than the others. Game 6 figures to be more of the same.
- “It’s five straight games against the same opponent,” Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s a fight. You’ve got to be able to get through it. They’re a hard-playing team. We’d like to think we’re a hard-playing team. That’s just the way it is.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat