The Chicago Bulls stunned the Atlanta Hawks last Tuesday by coming back from a 19 point third quarter deficit to win the game. Derrick Rose went into MVP mode, and the Hawks had no answer. You can bet they'll be looking for revenge.
The Hawks are an up and down squad. They're the only team to beat Miami, they almost beat Chicago, then they lost to Miami with both LeBron and Wade missing the game. The Hawks can have a dominant offense when their guys are on top of their game as they can get offense from all over the floor.
However, they're also prone to long stretches of terrible shot selection and offensive inefficiency while they settle for long two point jumpers.
The Bulls are coming off of a back to back, but the Hawks are in the final game of a back to back to back with travel between each game, and they played a total of four overtime periods in the previous two games. The Bulls should be the fresher of the two teams today.
Keys to the game
Play with patience
The Hawks disrupted the Bulls offense with their zone defense last time. The Bulls will need to prepare to tackle the zone and should prepare to play Korver some extra minutes as a zone buster. If Richard Hamilton [unlikely] were able to go for the Bulls, it would be a lift for the team as his mid range jump shooting would also help bust up the zone.
Keep the Hawks outside
The Hawks love to take deep two point jumpers, especially Josh Smith. If the Bulls can defend the paint, the Hawks will likely fall into their pattern of jacking up bad shots from the perimeter. Once they start launching long twos, they'll be easy to beat.
Boozer's time to shine
Obviously Rose is always the most important piece in the offense, but Boozer can make a big impact in this game.
The Bulls went to Boozer in the pick and roll much more than the low post last night, a trend I hope continues. Boozer's at his best when he's rolling to the basket or shooting an open pick and pop jumper. Both will have some value against the zone defense. Hopefully the Bulls keep using Boozer to his strengths rather than trying to have him create down low.
Hard to pick against the Bulls given how we'll they've been playing the past couple of games. Even when they struggle, they find ways to gut out wins. I doubt the streak ends today in Atlanta despite the trouble Chicago had with them last game.
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