The Bulls and Hawks open their conference semifinal series tonight in Chicago, and nobody’s giving the Hawks a chance. Why not? Didn’t the Hawks take the Celtics to seven games in 2008? Isn’t Joe Johnson going to be a difficult matchup for Keith Bogans and Kyle Korver? Isn’t Carlos Boozer hobbled with turf toe? Didn’t the Hawks win their most recent matchup with the Bulls in which Rose was a pedestrian 5-for-21 shooting? Doesn’t Atlanta give up fewer points per game than Indiana?
Of course, I’m joking. The Hawks have no chance. The mere fact that Jeff Teague could play against Derrick Rose is highly comical; that’d be like lining me up to block Warren Sapp in his prime. Boozer? Pfft. He’s in a funk and they’re better off playing Taj Gibson. That game in which Rose struggled and the Hawks won? Hinrich hounded him throughout.
And the Hawks’ may give up fewer points per game than Indiana, but opponents shot 46 percent vs. Atlanta this year; 44% vs. the Pacers. The Hawks are an inferior rebounding team to the Pacers (the Bulls are the 2nd best rebounding team in the league).
I like the Bulls in five. Then again, I thought Chicago would roll the Pacers (all the games were very close, except the clincher), I had the Thunder winning yesterday, and I have the Celtics winning the series against Miami.
The good news is, this series will feature the two best crossovers in the NBA: Derrick Rose and Jamal Crawford. Witness:
The Lakers and Mavs start tonight, too. I like LA to win that one in six.