If the Bulls have the advantage at Center, the Hawks even it out with the advantage at Shooting Guard.
The matchup: Keith Bogans and Co. (CHI) vs. Joe Johnson (ATL)
Joe Johnson Keith “Bogus” Bogans is not. Johnson is pure offensive scoring for the Hawks and is a huge reason why they are where they are. The same can not be said about Bogans.
As much of lopsided advantage Joakim Noah is over Collins and Pachulia, Johnson reigns supreme over Bogans. The Bulls guard will have to contain Johnson early if he is to have a chance. It’s not set in stone that Bogans can’t do it, after all Johnson was held to 13, 16 and 12 points in the three meetings he and Bogans had this year,
A lot of the success against Johnson can and will come from rotations. Bogans is the (arguable) starter but its the guys behind him that tend to make the biggest difference. Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer combined for 106 minutes on the court in the three meetings while Bogans had just 58.
But Joe Johnson had 41 points in the season series while Bogans posted just 14. Even with Korver and Brewer combining for 32, Johnson is the clear winner in this matchup. What the Bulls will need to do is do what they do best, play hard nosed defense against the Hawks and contain Johnson.
If they can’t do that, he may be able to hurt the Bulls bad when they least expect it.
Edge: Atlanta Hawks