Chicago Bulls AT Atlanta Hawks
May 08, 2011 at 8 PM EST
Opening Line: CHI -3
Current Line: CHI -3
Opening Moneyline: CHI -170, ATL +150
Current Moneyline: CHI -160, ATL +140
Opening Total: 179
Current Total: 178.5
Bulls Lead Series 2-1
Led by Derrick Rose’s 44 points, the Bulls came back to take a series edge in what has always proved to be a crucial swing point in series – game 3. Rose went 16 of 27 from the floor, including 4 of 7 from three point range, while hitting 8 of 9 from the line. Despite the volume of shots (and consequently time spent with the ball), Rose only turned the ball over twice all game, while also accruing 7 assists.
Teague found Rose almost impossible to cover while the league MVP was on fire. “He started making outside shots,” said Teague. “When he’s making outside shots like that, it’s tough to cover him…He’s probably the fastest guy in the league getting from end to end. You’ve got to get three guys back to stop him in transition.”
Teague realizes what he has done has been ineffective and that he is going to need more help from teammates to slow Rose down. “We’ve got to try to figure out a new defense,” Teague said. “I don’t think we changed anything up during the course of the game. I’m sure next game, we’ll add different coverages and different schemes if he gets on a roll like that. … We have to. You can’t guard him the same way three games straight. He’s the MVP. He’s going to start picking you apart.”
Larry Drew wasn’t so quick to credit Rose’s amazing play, instead blaming the Atlanta defense for Rose’s overwhelming success. “He went coast to coast against four guys for an uncontested layup,” Drew said. “He’s a phenomenal player. I’ll give credit where credit is due. But still, we have to be better at defending him and not just letting him get into the paint and score so easily.”
The rest of the Bulls’ starters combined for only 23 points and though I mentioned the Bulls’ need for more production from starting power forward Carlos Boozer, Boozer played only 22 minutes, as backup Taj Gibson played the lion’s share of the minutes with 26 minutes. Gibson posted a double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while also blocking two shots. His defense and rebounding could prove crucial in this series given Boozer’s lack of production.
The Hawks were again led by Jeff Teague, who went 8 of 13 from the floor and 5 of 5 from the line en route to 21 points. Teague also played a team high 41 minutes and has begun to make Hinrich’s return look quite inconsequential.
Jamal Crawford has failed to score as much in the last two games as he did in game 1. The Hawks know that to win this series they are going to need strong production from their usually high scoring duo of Joe Johnson and Crawford. In the Orlando series, Crawford averaged 20 points per game. Comparatively against Chicago, he is only averaging 13.3 points per game.
Some betting trends:
Chicago is 15-2 SU in their last 17 games and the total has gone UNDER in 4 of Chicago’s last 6 games on the road. The Bulls are 9-1 SU in their last 10 on the road and the total hasg one OVER In 10 of the last 14 against the Atlanta Hawks. The Bulls are 4-1 SU in their last 5 against Atlanta and the Bulls are 2-6 SU in their last 8 road games against the Hawks. The Bulls are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games when on the road against the Hawks and the total has gone OVER In 8 of Chicago’s last 10 games on the road in Atlanta.
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Atlanta’s last 8 games and the Hawks are 5-10 SU in their last 15 games. The Hawks are 6-3 SU in their last 9 at home and the total has gone UNDER in 8 of their last 9 at home. The total has gone OVER in 10 of the Hawks’ last 14 games against the Chicago Bulls, while the Hawks are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 against the Bulls. The total has gone OVER in 8 of Atlanta’s last 10 home games against the Bulls and the Hawks are 6-2 SU in their last 8 home games against Chicago.
If Rose can play even half as well as he did in game 3, it’s going to spell trouble for the Hawks. When Rose is playing that well it requires only minimal contributions from teammates for the Bulls to succeed, as evidenced by him outscoring the other 4 starters combined by a healthy margin. Hinrich may have been a better option to defend Rose, but I doubt it would have made much of a difference. He’s the engine that drove the Bulls to 62 wins and the only challenge in front of him realistically is overcoming the Heat or Celtics next round.