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Game 6: Bulls 76, Hawks 74

4 Jan 2012

Three Stars
1. Derrick Rose: 30 points (.541 TS%), 7 assists, 1 block
2. Omer Asik: 2 points (.333 TS%), 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists, 1 steal
3. Luol Deng: 21 points (.567 TS%), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

I can’t say the Bulls had any business winning that one, but it sure was fun to watch.

Frustrated and out of sync all night, they trailed the visiting Hawks by 19 points with two minutes left in the third quarter, then exploded on a 25-6 run to tie the score with six minutes remaining.

Derrick Rose, the primary architect of Chicago’s unlikely resurrection, was of course the central figure down the stretch. Twice in the last minute he blew past his counterpart Jeff Teague and finished at the hoop against the extraordinary shot blocker Josh Smith. Both baskets gave Chicago a one-point lead.

But then, after a dubious foul call helped Atlanta pull even at 74, the Bulls won the game with Plan B.

Rose was again the primary option, but he was hounded by Smith and Joe Johnson as Luol Deng inbounded to Joakim Noah and slipped immediately to the basket. Noah’s deft pass — his only contribution in a second half anchored by Omer Asik — found Deng open underneath for the go-ahead basket with 3 seconds left.

We could deconstruct the failures that plagued Chicago for nearly three full quarters, bemoaning the absences of injured guards Rip Hamilton and C.J. Watson, sorely missed on offense, but there will be time for that. For the moment, let’s celebrate the intelligence, skill and competitive spirit that make this as good a team as there is in the NBA.

Even on nights like this. Or perhaps especially.

Box Score

Record: 5-1
Next: Wednesday 1/4 at Detroit, 6:30 CT


From → Game Analysis

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