Drink: Hecula Monatrell
I expected the Bulls to build off of their previous effort and the Hawks their previous awe of Derrick Rose and resignation to defeat. ATL coach Larry Drew stated that his Hardy Boys lacked physicality, so he started Jason Collins in place of whoever the hell started down low. Let’s say… Tree Rollins.
When Hawk Josh Smith hit an early jumper, I got excited. Smith is a gifted athlete who “competed” in many a dunk contest, but forgets that he is a gifted athlete. He loves to nullify his talent by shooting flat footed jump shots all day. (If you need reference, see Tyrus Thomas). The Bulls watched Atlanta nail almost everything early on and (gasp) distribute the ball? Oh, and sometimes you hear about Derrick Rose breaking someone’s ankles. Well in this game, Joe Johnson shook Keith Bogans so badly, Bogans buckled his knee and headed to the locker room for a few minutes.
Johnson was hitting shots and distributing the ball well. Jamal Crawford came off the bench to add a spark and déjà vu set in. Fortunately Our Man From Sudan, Luol Deng was boss on both ends early. Taj Gibson had a bad ass 20 second spurt. He hit a jumper, came up with a steal, then finished with a dunk. Rose was held in check and the ATL scored 28 in the quarter, finishing up 2 after one.
Unit: DJ Train Wreck started the second with CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Luo, Taj and Omer Asik. Taj had a half dozen blocks in 2 minutes. Zaza Pachulia was a thorn in the Bulls’ side. I hate him for two reasons: His first name reminds me of what lazy people call pizza x 2. His last name reminds me of patchouli oil, which reminds me of how hippies try to cover their drum circling stank.
UDJTW struggled on offense. Ronnie Brewer, who missed a couple dunks earlier this season and has not been the same finishing, mind f’ed himself on a breakaway, leading to a Jeff Teague lay-up and Bulls time out. From there, the Hawks, (feeding off the crowd?) were nasty. They were flying around and scoring with style. An alley-oop from Josh Smith to Al Horford woke Rose up. D Rose diced the Hawks for a spell. The Bulls went up a couple, then the Hawks hit a couple. Los Toros seemed completely outplayed, but only trailed by 1 at the half.
I assumed that coach Thibs would lay out a master plan at halftime. Perhaps this ribbity rap singy song should’ve been played to explain the very complicated 8 point agenda of how Chicago would steamroll the ATL in route to an NBA title. Its “A manifesto from intro to outro. Its absolutely rock solid.”
Instead, the Hawks came out sluggin’. Lil’ man Jeff Teague and Big Gator Al Horford had dunks early and the Bulls lacked any rhythm. Rose was getting hacked and they couldn’t buy a foul call. It was smart for the Hawks to play more aggressive ’til they heard a whistle. Josh Smith turned playmaker as part of the new ATL Initiative, “Team Basketball: Why Not?” The Hawks were up 6 or so for most of the quarter, but Carlos Boozer did step up big on the offensive end to keep the game tight. Omer came in late with an immediate impact and somehow, Chicago were up 69-67 with one frame to play.
Thibs had D Rose starting the 4th for the first time in a while. He responded by hitting 3 straight hoops, including an old-fashioned 3 point play. (It’s Point 5 of the 8 Point Agenda: Leave an MVP in extra minutes if a commanding series lead is at stake.) Then Rose went cold and forced a couple shots, while the defense had moments of confusion in transition. Josh Smith finally had a game where he went hard to the rack. On one occasion, he missed a dunk, then sprang back up to finish off a dunk that should’ve been an and-one. He got booed whenever he took a jumper, but shook that off in route to 23 points, of which, 26 of them were in the paint.
The Bulls took their final full time out down 6 with 2:33 to play. Things were looking bleak. The MVP was not getting “MVP calls” and the defense was getting blazed at critical moments. After the TO, D Rose took a 3 where he appeared to draw a foul. The whistle was blown and the result was… a jump ball? It was ruled an inadvertent whistle. It seemed like the ONE PLAY where Rose would get the benefit of the doubt on a call. Instead, the Hawks won the jump ball and iced the game from there closing the game with a 16-4 run. When the game was basically over, there was confusion about how many time outs the Bulls had which led to a technical. Then a sign in the stands said that “Osama was a Bulls Fan”. Rednecks, shitty sports town, punk ass Josh Smith, etc. Hawks win 100-88.
One of the biggest disappointments to me was the play of Kyle Korver. I know he won’t always be “on”, but if he’s not hitting, he’s running down the shot clock as the team waits for him to run around screens. They needed him to hit more than 1 of his 8 shots, but alas, he was horrible. Judas Pato agreed, calling him a lump of shit. Perhaps Korver needs to douse himself with patchouli oil.