Hawks control their own destiny and look like they want sixth

The Atlanta Hawks controlled their own destiny. Two wins, and they had fifth. However, if they’re really aiming for sixth they still control their own destiny since two losses puts them in sixth regardless of what Chicago does. The Hawks appeared to throw their game against Toronto as they played with minimal energy, rested Horford, and barely played their starters.

The move makes sense for the Hawks for many reasons I’ve discussed about the Bulls possibly preferring a sixth seed. They get to avoid Miami longer and may not view Indiana as a tougher matchup than the Nets. After all, the Nets at least have a couple of go to offensive players that Indiana lacks.

That said, the Nets are tissue soft up front, which makes them a team the Bulls have a much better shot of out hustling/physicalling for a series even if Deron Williams is the best offensive player on either team. The Bulls match up well against the Nets offensive strengths with Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich capable of guarding Johnson/Williams and a healthy Bulls team having enough options to throw at Brook Lopez.

Chicago should be able to dominate the series on the glass and as long as they get some shooting, they’ll have a pretty good shot at pulling off a win. I don’t know if the Bulls should be favored, but they at least shouldn’t be significant underdogs. If Derrick Rose were to play (haha, I know, I know….) the Bulls would instantly become significant favorites in the series.

Going into the final night of action on the season, a win or Hawks loss will pit the Bulls against the Nets while a Hawks win combined with a Bulls loss would drop the Bulls back down against Indiana. Based on what we saw last night, I think we can say that Atlanta won’t leave this to chance and will simply make sure to lose the game to New York.

The Bulls will play everyone and attempt to win, simply because Tom Thibodeau doesn’t know how to lose a game on purpose and because they actually want to get their better players to gel with each other prior to the playoffs since everyone is recovering from injury. So after a seesaw “It’s Brooklyn!, no it’s Indiana!” discussion for a couple weeks, I’d put money on Brooklyn now.

Which, of course, means it will likely end up being the Pacers.


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  • It would be fun to see the Bulls take on the Knicks in the 2nd round because they'd have a chance of winning. But really, if the Bulls can win even 1 playoff round this season sans Rose, I'll consider it a big accomplishment for these guys.

  • I predict that if the Bulls win round one against Brooklyn, Derrick Rose returns for the series against Miami, a huge stage as shown in the Addidas commercial.

  • In reply to GoBulls:

    It wouldn't surprise me if rose play in first round.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    The second round would create more of a national stage for Derrick. If the Bulls can't make it through round one with Tag, Noah and Rip healthy, then why bother.

  • In reply to GoBulls:

    I'd be surprised if Rose plays at all. It'd be an incredible story if he played against Miami and led the Bulls to victory, but it's kind of a lousy story if he plays and gets his ass kicked which is the far more likely scenario, especially if he hasn't played against other teams since the injury.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    If Derrick feels he's 110%, I highly doubt he embarrasses himself. You can't compare his 110% return to the game last year against Miami when he returned from injury. He wasn't close to being healthy last year with all his compounded ailments.

    The story line would be just what the Addidas ad envisioned, much better than returning for some meaningless regular season game. We just have to hope they win the first round without him and the supporting cast remains healthy, which is not real likely. So maybe we see Derrick next year...

  • If bulls make it to second round wouldn't it be right around the year mark of d rose surgery? Would he continue to stall about coming back even though he said there is still a chance?

    I hope bulls play Brooklyn. Would rather bulls face Miami after that series than be beat up and tired after battling Indiana and whoever win knicks Celtics series

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Also, Miami may start the playoffs kind of lackluster, but improving with each series as they get into their playoff rhythm. Better to face Miami earlier.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Yes, it should be past a year if he makes it to the second round, but it's a year from the injury not from the surgery, so i guess it depends when you count from.

    I think it's irrelevant though, I think Rose knows he's not coming back.

  • It's hard to believe people here, who are usually more realistic than the homers at ESPN Bulls, are talking about second and third round match-ups.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I don't think the Bulls would be favored against anyone in the top four, but even without Rose only Miami is considerably better.

  • What's that sound?

  • I believe the Bulls are now tied with both the Lakers and Rockets for the 18th, 19th and 20th picks in the 2013 draft. I think ties are broken by a random drawing. Due to Atlanta's loss to the Knicks, had Bulls lost to the Wizards, they would own the 18th pick outright, yet still have the 5th seed for the playoffs. Hope Bulls win that random drawing!

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