The Hawks weren’t going to make the same mistake twice. After jumping out to a big early lead on Tuesday night, they let the Bulls come back and win in the 4th quarter. Saturday night, they jumped out to an early lead, and never looked back.
One major difference between the two games is that this one wasn’t as ugly as the first. Neither team had trouble putting the ball in the basket, as the teams combined for 203 points, as opposed to Tuesday night’s affair, when they combined for 150. The Hawks also locked down defensively on Derrick Rose, who was held to just 8 points on 3-10 shooting. The only Bulls starter who had a decent game was Boozer, who shot 6-11 for 12 points, playing just under 22 minutes.
The Bulls’ defense, however, was non-existent. They may have been a bit tired, but the Hawks should have been more tired. This was Atlanta’s 3rd game of a back-to-back-to-back (following 4 OT periods in the first two games), and given that Chicago is supposed to be a great defensive team, they gave up an awful lot of points to a team that should have had no legs left. The Hawks shot well from downtown, hitting 9 of 12 shots, but that’s not really a lot. And they only shot 6 FTs in the entire game, which means they made a lot of shots. They were running and gunning the whole game, firing on all cylinders, and making baskets. That’s not what I like to see against the defensive-minded Bulls squad, who were on the 2nd game of a back-to-back.
As a Bulls fan, I’m not too worried. The Bulls have started out great, and you can’t win every game. Considering how the Hawks were embarrassed by blowing a 19-point lead in Chicago, I felt they had a great chance to win the rematch at home. The only concern I have about this game is that Chicago gave up so many points.
The main positive I take away from this game is that the Bulls rested their starters in the 4th quarter, which is something they probably need. Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, the Bulls’ highest-minute players, both played under 30 Saturday night. Kyle Korver was the high-minute man this game, logging over 35. Backup PG John Lucas III scored 14 points in the 4th quarter, and if CJ Watson is going to miss significant time, Lucas will have a fairly significant role. He needs as much experience as he can get.
The Hawks are a good team, and I give them all the credit for dominating this game. But the Bulls are better than this. Hopefully this was just an aberration, and won’t happen too many more times. It’s going to be a crazy season due to the lockout, so things like this will happen once in a while.