ATLANTA — If you were engaged in a drinking game where you drink when the Bulls show up, you may now drink.
It took 7 games but the Bulls finally looked like they should have the entire playoffs thus far. The Bulls took a two 2-1 series lead with their win in Atlanta Friday moving closer to not only closing the series but regaining their swagger.
Derrick Rose looked like he had his explosiveness back blasting the Hawks for 44 points and nearly 60% shooting. Rose felt he had his game back too.
“[I was] just attacking the whole game,” Rose said. “That was my whole thought process.”
The cocky Hawks also were forced to acknowledge the power that is the league’s youngest MVP winner.
“Not a lot of people know what that feels like to be a worker, work hard and be in position where you get booed by your home crowd.”
-Joakim Noah on the Bulls struggles
“He’s tough to cover anyway,” said Atlanta’s Jeff Teague, who had the futile task of trying to guard Rose much of the night. “But when his jump shot is falling, he’s the MVP.”
And the traveling fans in Atlanta were the first and loudest to recognize that as Rose was showered with intense “M-V-P” chants as he drained treys in the fourth. They were even treated to a rare smile from Rose.
“Yeah, I just wanted to get my groove back,” he said. “Knock it down. That’s all I was trying to do.”
The Hawks earlier this week claimed that if Game 2 was the best Chicago could do felt they had the series wrapped up. They are now singing a very different and more desolate tune.
“They beat us up,” coach Larry Drew said. “They completely beat us up.”
There is so much truth (and vindication for Bulls fans) in that statement; Chicago rolled the Hawks 99-82 with, of course, Rose handing out the most violent beating.
But the other members of the cast in Chicago did their part as well.
Well if by other cast you mean Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah. Korver finished with 11 and Gibson had 13. They brought pride back to the Bench Mob on Friday. Noah did his job by rebounding the ball 15 times. The rest of the team limped through the game providing morale support.
Luol Deng had the second best night out of the starters scoring-wise as he posted 7. But to put the night for the starters into perspective: they were outscored (minus Rose) by the bench 34-21. But despite the low point totals, they seemed to have their swagger back.
“Not a lot of people know what that feels like to be a worker, work hard and be in position where you get booed by your home crowd.” said Jokaim Noah who was more than pleased with the progress the Bulls made on Friday.
But that had a lot to do with the MVP injecting and infecting them with his energy and swagger.
“Hustle plays,” Rose called ‘em. “That’s who we are as a team.”
This is all news that will ease Bulls fans who have been on pins and needles in regards to the Bulls play thus far. After getting humiliated in Game 1 by the Hawks, Chicago has seemed to finally have woken up. That’s good news for Bulls fans.
But as for the Hawks, the giant has been awoken from it’s slumber and it’s not happy at all it over slept.