Blog Entry

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: May 2, 2011 1:55 pm
Posted by Royce Young

I. Intro:  No. 5 seed Atlanta Hawks (44-38) vs. No. 1 seed Chicago Bulls (62-20)

It's not really the matchup we all anticipated, but that doesn't change anything. So it's not Dwight Howard versus the Bulls frontcourt, but the Hawks present Chicago an interesting matchup. Really, I get the feeling this series could surprise a bit and be really good.

A challenge for the Hawks though will be to forget about the Orlando series and re-focus here. Because that was a big win for them. They were humilated last year and obviously played with an edge. They need that same kind of motivation and edge to hold down Derrick Rose and the Bulls.

II. What Happened:  A look at the season series

The Bulls took the season series 2-1 over the Hawks with one close loss and two blowout wins. The Hawks scored 14 fewer points a game against the Bulls, were crushed on the glass, shot low percentages and couldn't stop the Bulls. The win the Hawks picked up came because they were able to slow the Bulls down and beat them in an ugly, grind-it-out game.

III. Secret of the Series: Transition

The Bulls play very good defense. The Hawks halfcourt offense can sometimes be bad. Solution? Run.

The Hawks have a bunch of talent and athleticism, especially in their bigs, that can get out in the open floor and run against the Bulls. Josh Smith is terrific in transition. Al Horford runs well. Players like Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford can find secondary opportunities off of fast breaks. Running is a big thing for the Hawks to try and do because it's hard to see them beating the Bulls four times using halfcourt offense.

The Bulls though are very good at controlling pace and keeping teams from running. Obviously Tom Thibodeau knows the Hawks want to run as much as possible and that will be a focus.

IV. The Line-Item Veto:  Who wins each match-up?

PG: The Bulls obviously had the edge in this department before Kirk Hinrich's injury, but now it's pretty wide. Jeff Teague will start for the Hawks in Game 1 and might be handling duties the entire series. Either way, the Bulls have a giant edge at point guard. Hinrich is a pesky on-ball defender and Rose would've had to work. His life just got easier. Huge advantage, Bulls. 

SG: This is kind of the opposite of the point guard matchup. Joe Johnson is the main offensive option for Atlanta and Keith Bogans' job is to lock him down. But for Chicago, not only is Bogans healthy, but he's totally capable of limiting Johnson. The Hawks have an edge, but it's not wide. Advantage, Hawks.

SF: Assuming the Hawks stick with the same starting five used against Orlando, Josh Smith will be here against Luol Deng. Obviously Smith has a big size advantage, but Deng is super long and will take Smith out on the perimeter. A lot will come down to if Smith does the same or uses his head and goes inside on Deng. Too close to call for me, so this is a push. 

PF: Carlos Boozer will try to give it a go in Game 1 and will face off in the series against Al Horford. This will be a terrific head-to-head with two big bodies that score well in the post. Definitely a good one to watch. Horford is more consistent and is playing better, so Atlanta has the edge here. Advantage, Hawks. 

C: Again, this will be Jason Collison versus Joakim Noah is things stay the same for Atlanta. If Larry Drew changes things up, he'll have Horford against his old Florida buddy and Marvin Williams at small forard with Smith at power forward. Under the assumption though Collins starts here, Noah has the edge. He played like the animal he is against Indiana and his athleticism could give Collins trouble on the glass. Advantage, Bulls. 

Bench: This is where the Hawks make their move. Jamal Crawford has been an absolute weapon off the bench for Atlanta and even Marvin Williams and Zaza Pachulia chipped in big time against Orlando. The Bulls bench lacked against Indiana other than Kyle Korver. Chicago doesn't look for offense as much as Atlanta does off the bench, but still, the Hawks should win this area easily every game. Advantage, Hawks. 

Coach: Larry Drew did a nice job in Round 1. Tom Thibodeau has emerged as a pretty incredible strategist and game coach. This feels like series that will be more just about matchups than anything else and Drew has the opportunities to use his team's versatility to move things around. But Thibodeau is the superior here. Advantage, Bulls. 

V. Conclusion

The Hawks can win this series. I'm convinced. They have the athletes, the scorers and the confidence to hang right in with the Bulls. Especially after the shaky play Chicago showed in the opening round. The Bulls are the better team, no doubt. They have a better system, won the season series handily and have Derrick Rose. But the Hawks have some talent. Don't overlook them.

That said, it's hard to picture it actually happening. The Bulls are just going to swallow the Hawks in the halfcourt. Atlanta averaged just 80 points per game against the Bulls in the regular season and had one of the worst offenses in the league. Like I said, transition is key, but the Bulls aren't dumb. They know that. The Hawks have the talent to steal one here or there, but the Bulls take this in six.

Since: May 20, 2007
Posted on: May 3, 2011 12:50 am

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

Wow WU, what have you gotten yourself in to now my friend?  May I ask why you are even posting on this thread?  I realize you were the first to post on this thread, but to post anything unfavorable to a "blinders-on" Chicago populated fan based thread?  Really?  I guess you're looking for a fight, regardless of what the facts are.  They don't want to be confused by the facts.  They already have everything figured out.  They will most definitely come up with an explanation for tonight's thumping of their team, like perhaps Rose's unfortunate injury, to explain it.  They will hope we all forget it happened when the game was over.  On a side note, I hope Rose is OK.  What a great player.  Anyway, WU, you need to select where you post more carefully unless you really are looking for another fight.  This Chicago thread will always be in-bred and nasty.  Let me know if you need me.  You know you have a lot of friends here who support you.

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: May 3, 2011 12:04 am

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

Geez WU!  Just take the little punk out.  There is no way he has enough depth to even be on the same thread with you.  C'mon WU!  I haven't seen you take somebody apart in quite some time now.  Remember the good old days?  Roll this wimp out of here like you used to do.  It's been a lomg time since I've really had fun on this site.  Who is this kid anyway?  Does he have a clue who you are?  I hope he has the guts to come back and defend his childish remarks with at least a shred of logic and fact.  These Chicago people are definitely a bunch of bona fide homers.  They are well known for that.  Well, no need for you to respond to my posting here, but I hope you make this an entertaining dismantling like in the past.  I miss it!

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:39 pm

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

In response to epanass, I figured we were probably dealing with a bunch of beer guzzling fat men in some sleazy Chicago tavern. But, now I see we are dealing with a child as well. How old are you? I knew you were all homers, that's clear as a bell. But your homerism fails and you now resort to name calling? How can I be a homer in this series when I support neither team? Did you even read my second post in this thread? Please grow up several years before posting again on an adult site. Your Chicago team is building a nice future, but it is not playoffs capable. They've clearly shown that now six games in a row. And against very low seeded teams. I was very sorry to see that Derrick Rose got hurt tonight at the end of the game. I hope it is not serious for this fine young man. But it just might give you homers an excuse to whimper out of these playoffs. You were gone anyway, but you just might now have something to pin it on. You simply are not a valid playoff team!

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:24 pm

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

So Joe Johnson won't score double-digits this series, huh? LOL!!

That has to be the worse prediction made since someone claimed the Titantic

was unsinkable! 


Since: Mar 24, 2007
Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:07 pm

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

Homers, violent, and ignorant responses?  You're the one who started anything like that with that tired out bridge crap.  Reading all of the responses with "objective analysis" points to one thing, WUsTheHomer.  Congratulations on picking a game right, you should start gambling for a living.

Since: Jun 30, 2010
Posted on: May 2, 2011 10:55 pm

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

You were saying? Joe Johnson what?  Come again?

Since: May 22, 2009
Posted on: May 2, 2011 10:38 pm

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

Wings gonna get clipped, huh? Somebody check on the MVP, he almost broke his ankle playing D down by 10 with 2 seconds left(WTF).  Highest paid player in the league trumps MVP. I like the Hawks in 5

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: May 2, 2011 10:34 pm

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

Hmmm!  I wonder where all the Chicago homers went.  I post on a lot of threads here on CBS, and i've never seen such a violent and ignorant response from so many homers to one of my postings.  I am not an Atlanta fan or supporter.  But I do respect their capability.  And I am clearly not a Bulls fan or supporter.  And I am sure they do not deserve their number one seed in these playoffs.  I am a Celtics fan.  And I am an NBA fan.  It surprises me no Atlanta fans are here on this thread.  They have a very talented team.  Anyway, your "homerism" has completely blinded you in terms of objective basketball analysis.  According to you, you just lost a sure fire home court advantage against a vastly inferior team.  Now, let's hear all the excuses.  Step back a little and be objective.  Chicago is not ready for the playoffs.  They had a great regular season, but that ain't the playoffs, Toto!  Chicago barely got by the Pacers in the first round for goodness sakes.  Take your number one seeding and go home.  And yes, that bridge is available to each and everyone of you!  Just show up with real money, not a bunch of cheap talk!

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: May 2, 2011 9:28 pm

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

Bulls had the best record, period. For a reason. Thidbedeau gets coach of year, for a reason. Derrik Rose is MVP.....for a reason. This is a mismatch. I'll but that bridge, too.  Atlanta was fortunate to run into an unmotivated Orlando team (man, good by Stan Van Gundy and Dwight howard).  The Bulls have better team defense. They bottle up everyone. Nobody has really cracked them all year.  Boozer is actually, in my opinion, the weakest player of the starting five. It wont matter if he can play. Deng is phenomenal on D. And Rose is Rose. He's a major talent. He is the Durant or Kobe of this team. Who does atlanta have? Josh Smith? nice player, but not elite. Joe Johnson will not score double digits this series. Its Chicago in five.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: May 2, 2011 9:17 pm

Hawks-Bulls Preview: Wings will be clipped

I could use a bridge.

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