Drink: Las Rocas, Garnacha
Do you hear that? That clip-clopping? That neighing in the distance? Could it be… the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Well, the Bulls did drop Game 1 at home by eight points, a game in which they were nine-point favorites. Derrick Rose missed his first 37 or so field goals, never even had an attempt from the free throw line all game, and ended the game limping, after rolling his ankle on some pointless down-by-eight-D-with-seconds-left. And Rita Rudner is headliner at an elite Las Vegas Strip casino. Hm. [clip-clop, clip-clop, neigh, neigh]
Remember when during the regular season, the Bulls would sometimes go through spells where they had awful starts and have to play from behind for most of the game? And remember the last series against the Pacers where all but the last game saw the Bulls starting slow and then having to battle the entire game against a lesser opponent? If you are fond of those memories, the opening quarter of this one was for you. With 4:38 into the game, Luol Deng netted the Bulls first point, via the free throw. The Bulls were shooting poorly, handling the ball sloppily, and rotating slowly on D, as the Hawks often passed the ball until they had a wide-open look. This led to a 10-point ATL advantage after one.
Unit: DJ TrainWreck started the second and actually stayed in there for 6+ minutes. This was due to some improved D (over the starters) and also due to Thibs reprimanding the starters. UDJTW cut into the lead a bit with their defense, but (not surprisingly) the offense was not there, which led to the ATL regaining their cushion. The starters then filtered back in and looked great. Their ball movement was much more effective, leading to easier baskets and a one-point deficit at the half.
The third opened and all looked to be well in the UC. It was a bizarro version of the first quarter, as the ATL, Dirty, Dirty was clueless on how to execute. Rose was much more comfortable with the ball – distributing and hitting some shots. And Carlos mother-flippin’ Boozer was looking like the free agent we all hoped he would be when he signed in July. It all proved to be like Rita Rudner, all good on the surface, but when you take the airbrush affects away, there were cracks in the foundation. The ATL was not done. And that was the story for the rest of the game. The ATL closed out this game. Credit has to be given to the Hawks. Every time the Bulls had a ray of hope, the ATL would come back down and nail a jumper right in someone’s face.
In my preview for this series, I admitted that the Bulls would drop a game because the Hawks can knock down shots, and one game was bound to see them go on a hot streak. Let us hope this was that only game. Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford were just stupid. Johnson was 5-5 from the arc, on his way to 34, while former Bull draft pick, Crawford dropped 22 points from the bench.
Being a Chicago fan, it is in my blood to call for the Horsemen, but I will refrain. The Bulls played poorly. I expect them to bounce back and play like the Horsemen who were led by the Nature Boy, Ric Flair. The replay of Rose rolling his ankle has me optimistic. It looked like a slight roll that aggravated an injury he was already carrying, and we all know how he played against the Pacers in Game 5 after rolling his ankle. I am not worried about the clip-clopping… yet.