I'm expecting a close game tonight, and Bulls arrogance has subsided even after the fantastic fourth quarter on Tuesday: The Hawks are pretty good, they'll be at home, and they've infamously done this kind of thing before (one of my favorite things, ever).
The pressure's mounted a bit with the Heat now resting for the Eastern Conference finals after disposing the Celtics on Wednesday night. I know I'm certainly looking ahead to them, but hopefully the Bulls aren't, as I don't think being forced to a Game 7 is unlikely at all.
On to some stuff:
- In this game five recap, John Krolik at ProBasketballTalk had a poignant paragraph about the Bulls overall chances:
The Bulls haven’t looked like juggernauts over the first two rounds, but they still do some things as well as any team in the league, and are just as much of a threat to come out of the East as they were at the beginning of the playoffs. Their deep bench gives them contingency plans when guys like Noah and Boozer have off nights. Rose can dominate a game without needing his outside shot to be on. The Bulls’ defense guarantees that any team who wants to get past them will have to be able to win an absolute war. The Bulls aren’t perfect, or close to it, but they’re gamers to the core, and that makes them just as dangerous as any team still alive in these playoffs.I have to agree: the Bulls have holes, and some have widened in these playoffs. But this is a funky NBA playoff season where nobody's dominant, and the Bulls certainly have as good a chance as any to take it all. Heck, being 'forced' to a 7th game in this series wouldn't change that either.
- Thibs is saying there will be no preconceived changes to the rotation tonight based on game five. That's fine by me, especially if he shows the ability to adapt based on circumstance like he did in that game. I neglected to mention this in my recap, but another benefit of playing Asik in that lineup was his ability to set monster screens (maybe the best on the team?) to free up Rose. Here's some more game five/six analysis from the TNT broadcast, worth seeing if only to hear 'Sweet Home Chicago' blaring in the background the whole time.
- Speaking of cheesy anthems, this may be the worst. I've still yet to determine who's in on the joke.
- John Hollinger looks at some +/- in the playoffs and points out two Bulls (Deng and one of his favorites, Asik) as players who've made standout contributions outside of the box score.
- Offhanded Dribble takes a look at the differences of regular season vs. playoff Bulls. And what happens in their wins and losses. Not surprisingly, 3-pt shooting has been a key swing stat.
- ESPNChicago's Jon Greenberg takes a fortunately-not-too-syrupy look at the relationship between Rose and his hometown neighborhood of Englewood.
Be here at 7 for game six.