Bulls at Atlanta Hawks: 2011-12 Game Preview (#6) #9

[Thanks to Orange Juice for today's game preview. We'll make this the initial game thread too, next one at 7:30 -ed.]

Question: Where are all the Bulls fans in Atlanta at?

Answer: They are everywhere, and at Philips Arena later tonight, the Bulls fans will cheer and the Hawks fans will boooooooo.

Mon, Jan 2 @ Miami W 100-92
Tue, Jan 3 @ Chicago L 76-74
Thu, Jan 5 vs Miami L 116-109 3OT
Fri, Jan 6 @ Charlotte W 102-96 OT
Sat, Jan 7 vs Chicago ?

What a crazy week it has been for the Hawks. And what's even crazier, if they were better coached and had more mental toughness, they would've been 4-0 heading into tonight.

It's great for the Bulls that the Hawks are coming off of back-to-back overtime games, and that they are in fact the 2nd oldest team in the NBA - surprising given their perception as a young team, but outside of their starters minus Joe Johnson, everyone else is pretty much in their early 30's. And their rookie Ivan Johnson, who we will probably see play decent minutes because of his recent breakout game, is 27 years old (he's badass though).

Atlanta has athleticism and talent, but they're forever trapped in playoff mediocrity because Josh Smith continues to shoot jumpers, someone is grossly overpaid as a max player, Al Horford is playing center instead of PF, someone was drafted ahead of CP3/DWill, and their coach still sucks - does that pretty much sum it up Hawks fans?

I think the keys to this game are to jump out to an early lead, make them mentally give up because they will be physically tired, and not shoot 2 for 21 in the 2nd quarter. I have a feeling they will play a lot more zone than usual - to save energy of course, but also because it worked against the Heat (the first time) and the Bulls last time.

It'll be interesting to see how Thibs prepared the team to play against the zone this time ... if Korver can carry over his hot shooting from last night, the zone-busting lineup should be the lineup that finished the game against the Magic: Rose, Korver, Deng, Boozer, and Gibson.

Excited to be going to the game, repping the DRose jersey of course, waving to Captain Kirk, and shouting "All-Star" at Luol Deng!

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