LIVE: Can Hawks keep their edge at home against Bulls?

The Hawks went 3-0 at home against Orlando and will try to maintaint that advantage tonight.

The Hawks went 3-0 at home against Orlando and will try to maintain that advantage tonight.

Two weeks ago, the Hawks came home after a split of their first two playoff games in Orlando and we wondered if Philips Arena would turn into a shop of horrors (as it had so often this season).

Then they won two games to take a stunning 3-1 series lead over an Orlando team and closed out the series in six games. They went 3-0 at home. Suddenly we dare to think: Can they do the same against Chicago and win this series over the Bulls — without Kirk Hinrich?

Having split the first two games at Chicago, the Hawks can take this second-round series simply by winning their home games again — something that would not have seemed plausible before the Orlando series.

Before the Magic series, coach Larry Drew wondered himself about home-court advantage, but his feeling changed after the first two games in Orlando.

“Coming back from Orlando after game two, I could sense the confidence level, the energy level,” he said. “When you start the playoffs on the road it’s a tough task. Coming home I knew we would play with more energy How well we would play, I didn’t know. But I knew the energy level would be there. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get you over the hump. You don’t have to play particularly well, but if your energy level is there it will keep you in ball games.”

Couple of things before we get this thing started:

Carlos Boozer is playing despite his toe injury. Rumors were circulating that wasn’t the case but he’s in the lineup. “I can play through it,” he said this morning.

– If you missed it, Jamal Crawford’s comments from after game two — “If that’s their best shot, we’re in good shape.” — were blown up in Chicago. It will be interesting to see if the Bulls go after him at all.

Josh Smith drew criticism after going 4 for 14 in game two (which followed 3 for 11 in game one). Drew had him sit down for an extended film session and came away convinced Smith will be better tonight, focusing less on jump shots and more on defense, rebound and taking the ball inside. “I need to him to be better and he’s in total agreement,” Drew said.

– The Hawks also will need more offense from Al Horford, who went 3 for 12 in the last game and was outplayed by his former Florida teammate, Joakim Noah. He credited the Bulls’ defense but said, “A lot of that has to do with me. I settled for the jump shot when I need to go to the basket more.”

That’s it for now. What are your thoughts on tonight and how many of you — honestly — actually thought the Hawks would be in a position to take a series lead tonight?

By Jeff Schultz

Earlier: Hawks’ Crawford throws water on smack-talk charges

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

318 comments Add your comment

Cousin Vicker

May 6th, 2011
6:25 pm

No, I thought the Hawks might extend this series to five with a win tonight, I never expected them to be in a position to take the lead in this thing. Having said that, I think the Bulls win tonight and then the Hawks take Game 4. Game 5 will decide this series.

Max

May 6th, 2011
6:25 pm

Sonny Clusters

May 6th, 2011
6:30 pm

Sometimes a towel can come in handy.

J. Samuel

May 6th, 2011
6:32 pm

There’s nothing lamer than you, Max.

As always, I’m hopeful for the best. I can’t honestly say that I thought the Hawks had a chance in this series, but they really do. They played like crap on Wednesday and were still very much in the game. Jsmith needs to keep his game around the basket, whether it’s by cutting or posting up. Teague needs to continue to take it into the paint.

Sonny Clusters

May 6th, 2011
6:32 pm

We was wondering if they throw in the towel, which one will they use?

J.J.M.

May 6th, 2011
6:34 pm

man it better bot be no bulls fans there

ag

May 6th, 2011
6:40 pm

A little nervous. The bigs have to play big. Have to beat Chi to lose balls and keep off glass. Also, Teague has to continue to play well

Heat Fan

May 6th, 2011
6:46 pm

Are the Hawks Overachieving, out of the last 8 teams remaining in the playoffs, the Hawks are the only team that averages less PTs than their opp. in scoring and they are 5-3. Hawks 87.1 PPG, OPP 89.1 PPG, something to think about.

ag

May 6th, 2011
6:46 pm

If Kover is checking Teague, the Hawks HAVE TO run plays for Teague!

ag

May 6th, 2011
6:47 pm

Heat Fan, those numbers are skewed based on the fact Orlando beat the Hawks by 25 one night.

Heat Fan

May 6th, 2011
6:51 pm

I hear ya, but the Bulls played like crap Wedesday too. Hawks shot 34% and the Bulls did no better at 39% and they still won by 13, says alot to me. I want the Hawks to win for my on selfish reasons, so I can see the Heat next round for two games. But i’m trying to keep thing in context with the Hawks fans. The Bulls are playing bad too, not like they were in the season.

Hey Marcel

May 6th, 2011
6:53 pm

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Who Cares

May 6th, 2011
6:57 pm

Doesn’t really matter what the Hawks players or fans think. As long as they have the loser Josh Smith throwing up 25 ft jumpers all game, the hawks will lose. When you have 2 players on your team like Smith&Johnson, you will never beat a team that plays hard and plays to win like the Bulls. Between Johnson dribbling for 20 seconds and then throwing up a 3, or passing to Smith, who is always beyond the 3 point line, bottomline, you will lose. Add a coach that has no clue on how to coach offense, and you have a team that was lucky that Craawford and Johnson were hitting the 3 to win game one. That will not happen again, there is an old saying, you live by the 3 and you die by the 3. THe hawks will die, because they have no half court offense, and there coach has no idea of how to create a half-court offense. Johnson&Smith=Dumb&Dumber when it comes to offense.

Luke Cage

May 6th, 2011
7:11 pm

LETS GO HAWKS!!!!

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:12 pm

And we’re off … Still a lot of empty seats. People outside because of increase security screenings.

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:12 pm

And maybe Hawks are outside too. Bulls 4-0. Timeout.

jackie

May 6th, 2011
7:12 pm

good timeout.

J.J.M.

May 6th, 2011
7:13 pm

still jumpshooting when will we ever drive the ball

calihawks

May 6th, 2011
7:14 pm

49 secs in and a timeout …dam..

Luke Cage

May 6th, 2011
7:17 pm

Noah always camps in the lane but only one or 2 gets called

Luke Cage

May 6th, 2011
7:18 pm

Dang, a must stop already

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:18 pm

Hawks with first hoop — Marvin on break.

Who Cares

May 6th, 2011
7:18 pm

Crybaby Josh Smith crying again. This guy is a total joke

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:19 pm

What if we had seen this Jeff Teague all season (and he was playing)?

Luke Cage

May 6th, 2011
7:19 pm

Go ahead and clap Noah

G

May 6th, 2011
7:19 pm

Man the Braves cannot take advantage against goo teams. Leadoff singles and then nothing.

Who Cares

May 6th, 2011
7:20 pm

Josh, Josh, great outside shooter.

Luke Cage

May 6th, 2011
7:20 pm

Way to go Jeff!!

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:21 pm

Teague has 7 of Hawks’ 10.

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:22 pm

Obviously a lot more offense (less defense) than last game.

KSchmidt

May 6th, 2011
7:22 pm

Josh has been useful in setting screens for Teague.

G

May 6th, 2011
7:23 pm

Josh Smith standing still. Roll to the basket!

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:24 pm

Bulls have hit 8 of their first 10.

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:24 pm

Is anybody gonna miss?

KSchmidt

May 6th, 2011
7:24 pm

We should just clear the floor and let Teague and Rose go at it.

G

May 6th, 2011
7:24 pm

Dude Jeff Teague

KSchmidt

May 6th, 2011
7:26 pm

That’s why Smoove is in the game.

O'Brien

May 6th, 2011
7:26 pm

Is anybody gonna miss?

Al will.

jackie

May 6th, 2011
7:26 pm

G

May 6th, 2011
7:26 pm

Horford just throwing it up

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:27 pm

Don’t know if Hawks can win this kind of game but it’s fun to watch.

G

May 6th, 2011
7:28 pm

Have we decided to play no D on Rose? Horford is awful right now.

BYRDDAWG

May 6th, 2011
7:28 pm

GO HAWKS!!!!

Steve

May 6th, 2011
7:28 pm

Amazing how all of these Bulls fans come out of nowhere. Where were they when the Bulls were terrible a few years ago? Such fake fans. Gotta love people who only pull for teams that are winning.

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:29 pm

Time out for oxygen. …. Rose has 15 on 6/7 shooting. Bulls shooting 11/15 overall. … Teague has 11 for Hawks. Nobody else with more than 3.

bamaboy1

May 6th, 2011
7:29 pm

Bulls fans have more loyalty than Hawks fans. Just sayin

Sleepy

May 6th, 2011
7:30 pm

Drew needs to go zone right now its obvious that Rose is gonna try and score 40+ make him pass it to the non shooters .

Al is falling apart offensively right before our eyes

Joe is taking waaay to long to make a move . Either make your move quickly or simply pass the ball

Heat Fan

May 6th, 2011
7:31 pm

Which ever coach can make adjustments in this game is gonna win. Teague looks great. Liked him since WF, thought he would be a great PG in the league. He’s really capitalizing on his chances right now.

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2011
7:31 pm

Bamaboy1 — You win championships, you build loyalty. Just sayin’.

O'Brien

May 6th, 2011
7:32 pm

ZaZa needs to put Rose on his butt first time down the lane