In convincing form, the Chicago Bulls ironed out every wrinkle they came across through the game to build a solid 48 minute effort to beat the Atlanta Hawks to take Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Well, not entirely every wrinkle, although Coach Thibodeau and company came out with the right game plan, and stopped time to divert all of Atlanta’s momentum changers early on.
Derrick Rose was reported to injure his finger, after contesting a Jamal Crawford shot at the end of the first half. He had 21 points at that moment, and Bulls fans everywhere were beginning to think his first half performance would become erased by a poor shooting second half.
Not to worry, Derrick scored a career high, 44 Points(16/27 FG), to go along with 7 assists, 5 boards, a block and a steal in a performance that calmed his critics about his recent FG% drops. Derrick also posted a one game PER of 70.2 that completely stumped a Hawk team that thought they knew how to minimize Rose’s efficiency.
Was this a bad game for the Hawks or a good game for the Bulls?
The Hawks played flat in the first half in the paint. Hot shooters Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford were on the Bulls radar for the entire night. Ultimately the Bulls game plan to shut down the Atlanta guards caught the Hawks off guard, and All-Star Center, Al Horford, could not shake Joakim Noah long enough to get into any kind of rhythm of his own. Josh Smith did have his way in the later part of he 3rd quarter and earlier part of the 4th, but none of that helped the Hawks come any closer than 11 points, as the Bulls kept pace and matched baskets with ease.
Taj Gibson posted a double double with 13 Points and 11 Rebounds, and the only other Bull to finish in double digits was Kyle Korver with 11. Joakim Noah snagged 15 Rebounds and a crucial 8 Offensive boards to go with 5 blocks in an incredible defensive performance.
The Bulls win 99 to 82 to take a 2-1 lead over Atlanta, in Atlanta. The Bulls play Game 4 of the Eastern Semis in Atlanta on Sunday.
The game will be broadcasted on TNT at 7PM central.