Kirk Hinrich reportedly "will likely miss the entire" seven-game series against the Bulls "after severely straining his hamstring in the closing minutes of the Hawks' series-clinching win over Orlando," Andrew Seligman reported (AP).
Some teams were able to contain Derrick Rose at times this season, but arguably one of the most frustrating for him was Hinrich, his former teammate. First with the Wizards and later with the Hawks, Hinrich limited Rose's space, forcing him to be more aggressive and physical to score.
All of that said, the eyes are deceiving to say that Rose was relatively less productive against Hinrich. Rose's numbers with Hinrich on the court are about in line with his overall regular season production:
The big advantage for the Bulls of no Hinrich is that Jeff Teague can't guard Rose. "The Hawks aren't as physical," Seligman added. "They don't have Paul George or Dahntay Jones to disrupt Rose, unlike the Pacers."
The alternative with Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson employs the frustrating Pacers strategy of throwing length at Rose, but those Hawks' guards are simply not good defenders and Rose shouldn't have problems taking any of them off the dribble to get to the basket. What Hinrich does do to Rose to stay in front of him to make him stop short of fully attacking the basket:
Though his acrobatic floaters in the paint can make for good highlights when they fall, Rose shot terribly all season at 3-to-9 feet from the basket. His .397 FG% at that distance compared to .600 at the rim this season makes it imperative that he finishes his drives (Hoopdata).
Hinrich is a Foul Machine, so those drives got Rose to the line a ton. Without Hinrich, the Hawks will have no other choice than massive fouling without anyone able to stay in front of him. When helpers stop Rose short, as long as his draws contact instead of stepping back or floating a shot in place, his .865 FT% on 60 FTAs in his five playoff games will more than come in handy; they'll likely be what contributes to what should be a huge series for the MVP frontrunner.
The Hawks were around the 104.4 league average in defensive efficiency at 104.6 (Hoopdata). Teague will likely start for Atlanta after only playing only around nine minutes in the first round (K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune). Though he largely defends bench players, the Hawks' defensive efficiency was about 0.29 points better without him on the court; a whopping 4.56 points better without Crawford on the court (BasketballValue.com). There's no question that the Hawks bigs' help D and spacing the team defense to box out the paint will likely be their lesser evil.
Game 1 of the second round series will be Monday at 7:00 p.m. CST at the United Center. See the full schedule here. Paul Pierce went and done loss his damn mine in the Celtics' 99-90 Game 1 loss to the Heat in Miami (Dan Devine, Ball Don't Lie).