Atlanta Hawks Status Check:
Road Record: 19-15
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Streak: Lost 3
Last game: Lost 101-87 to the Lakers
PPG: 95.7 (25th)
Opponents PPG: 95.4 (9th)
Offensive Rating: 106.5 (19th)
Defensive Rating: 106.1 (13th)
Pace: 89.6 (27th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .500 (12th)
Turnover Percentage: .136 (18th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .745 (11th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .244 (24th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .211 (27th)
Opp. eFG%: .490 (12th)
Opp. TO%: .123 (28th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .211 (4th)
Leading scorer: Joe Johnson (19.0)
Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.
Atlanta Injury Report:
A lot of labels are put on games; “trap games,” “revenge games,” “statement games,” “must-win games.” Sometimes they aren’t needed or don’t make sense, but this game really is a revenge game for the Bulls. They got embarrassed in their last matchup against Atlanta, when the Hawks came back from a 19-point deficit to win by 3. That was Chicago’s only loss in their last eight games.
There would have been more publicity on this failure, but Miami did something worse the next night, and took the headlines. Thanks again for that, Miami.
The wound is still fresh; it happened only 9 days ago. The Bulls rebounded from the loss really well, winning their next four, but the way they lost definitely affected them. The Hawks, on the other hand, are 0-3 since they beat Chicago.
Now Chicago finds themselves somewhere they have been before: without one of their starting bigs. Carlos Boozer went down awkward late in Tuesday’s game versus the Bobcats, and limped off the court and into the locker room. X-rays were negative, but with Boozer’s history, who knows how long he could be out. Coach Thibodeau said Boozington will be out a “few days to a week,” according to the Daily Herald’s Mike McGraw.
The Bulls were just getting used to playing with all their stars. Now they may be back where they started the season, missing their biggest offseason acquisition.
But the Bulls are used to being shorthanded. They’ve been there, done that.
With their last win they clinched the central division. But there is still unfinished business. The Bulls are only 1.5 games behind the Celtics in the East. That’s impressive when you consider they have been at full strength for only 18 games. They are 14-4 in those games at full strength. Dropping the first two games after Boozer came back in December, and the first game after Noah came back after the All-Star break.
In the last Atlanta-Chicago matchup, Al Horford went off, tying a career-high in scoring with 31 points (13-20) and adding 16 rebounds. Joakim Noah won’t allow a repeat of this.
Ex-Bull Kirk Hinrich played a great game against Derrick Rose as well. Rose scored only 12 points on 5-21 shooting (0-6 on three-pointers) and had 6 turnovers. For as well as Hinrich played on the defensive end, he was the opposite on the offensive side of the ball, scoring just 3 points and 2 assists.
“The game was definitely on me,” Rose said after the loss. “But I guarantee it won’t happen again.”
Rose has responded all season to challenges. He sees this game as a challenge as well. He won’t want to get shown up by Hinrich twice in less than two weeks.
And, as if Rose needed any more motivation. Jerry Reinsdorf and Michael Jordan both gave the Bulls and Rose praise recently. Hopefully, Rose will respond to praise the same way he does to challenges.
Stepping in and stepping up:
Taj Gibson has started 14 games this season. According to Stats LLC, he averaged 11.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. He also averaged about one better defensive play than Carlos Boozer would have per minute (unofficial stat).
About the Author:
Braedan Ritter was born and raised in Pennsylvania but was swayed by gifts from his aunt to follow the Chicago sports teams. It didn’t hurt that the Bulls had a guy named Michael Jordan playing for them, and the Sixers had…Derrick Coleman. Braedan has stuck with Chicago through thick and thin, and really thin (see: Chicago Cubs). And speaking of Coleman, Braedan is currently a student at Syracuse University.