Bulls 93, Hawks 73: The frontcourt shows its might at just the right time


Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Chicago 85.0 109.4 55.2% 10.4 18.8 11.8
Atlanta
85.9 37.2% 24.3 23.7 14.1

 

No sense going over this close-out game too much, especially since there is not much of a break at all until the Eastern Conference Finals (love typing that out) begins. But I didn't want this spectacular performance to go completely ignored, and thought some focus should especially go to the frontcourt.

This was obviously Carlos Boozer's best performance in the playoffs. He started the game with a nice baseline cut and from a Rose pass actually dunked the ball. That was a good sign. From there it was the jumpshot that we've also missed for most of the postseason. And I'm not sure if it was him being more confident (physically feeling better as well?) in his jumper from the outset, or the first two going in sparking this, but: Booz was actively looking for the ball (even posting up) and making quick decisions when he received it, namely immediately shooting when left open. We didn't see a lot of the inside finishes that have most notably plagued him lately, but everything else was there.

This was just an amazingly dominant performance on both ends. I think the Hawks had fight in them, they were just overwhelmed. Offensively it was a balanced attack with Rose finding Boozer, Noah, and Deng early, and not needing to take over himself. And defensively, the Bulls completely frustrated the Hawks scorers (injuring one of the few non-iso players, Jeff Teague, helped matters) , highlighted by Keith Bogans work on Joe Johnson, and Joakim Noah finishing a series of limiting Al Horford. And in what Thibs like to call 'finishing' their defense, they did a very good job getting the rebound once a Hawks shot was bricket.

And almost as prevalent as in the closeout to game five was the bench's work in game six. Hubie Brown reemerged as president of the Omer Asik fan club for Omer's work not only controlling the paint, but his ability to catch/finish on offense. We know what Taj Gibson can bring some nights after his game five, and some extra garbage-time on Thursday showed his jumper is still hot to go along with his typically awesome defensive work.

This series was about putting away a better-than-expected opponent as fast as possible, but there were always bigger-picture factors that were looked towards as well. Seeing Rose appear healthy again was the first major hurdle in the second half of this series. But now seeing what Boozer is capable of (not saying 'he's back' after one game, but it certainly looked a lot better), and how the bench bigs have been rolling, it's a huge advantage over Miami.

And indeed, it's time to look to that next series. For all the offseason stories and star-power, these are just two basketball teams each with strengths and weaknesses. The Bulls have a deep and powerful frontcourt that the Heat should have extreme difficultly handling. Up until this game it was getting to be a hard thing to remember, but if this is the re-start of that trend they picked a great time.

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