NBA Playoffs 2011: Chicago Bulls Game 5 Report Card vs. Atlanta Hawks
This game looked is if it was going to come down to the final possession, but once again only one team came through in the final quarter.
Derrick Rose showed why he was recently named the MVP by controlling the fourth quarter and leading his team to victory, while the Hawks limped down the final stretch.
Here are my grades for Game 5.
Derrick Rose in the First Three Quarters
Through three quarters, Rose had 22 points along with six assists.
It may not have been his best game, but it was a pretty good performance. His turnovers were kept down which didn't allow Atlanta many easy points or fast breaks.
Rose did a good job finding an open man and passing out of the traps that Atlanta set.
When left with a hole in the lane, Rose did a great job using his burst of speed to find the open shot.
However, he did force up a few shots such as the one straight up with Horford which was swiftly rejected.
Derrick Rose in the Fourth Quarter
Derrick Rose did decent to begin the game, but took over like an MVP should in the final quarter.
He scored 11 points in what was a one point game to begin the last twelve minutes. Unlike the Game 4 performance, Rose dished off the ball when a shot wasn't there, and took it to the paint when there was.
He didn't force any next to impossible shots without looking for every other option. This kept other teammates such as Taj Gibson involved, who also had a great game.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, Rose had a turnover and a half (Teague briefly had possession and there was a no call when Rose stole it back) which could have cost his team more than it ended up.
Other than those few miscues, he did swell.
Defense in the First Three Quarters
It looked as if the Bulls would allow their average low 90's point range after three quarters and 68 points allowed.
It certainly wasn't a bad effort, but it wasn't spectacular for a team that has relied on their top tier defense all season.
The defense seemed to be wearing down some, allowing 26 points in the third quarter after allowing only 21 in each of the first two.
It was enough to give the Bulls a one point lead heading into the fourth quarter, though.
Defense in the Fourth Quarter
Fifteen points is all Atlanta would have in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls forced five turnovers and completely shut down Atlanta's shooters, as they only could muster a 29 percent field goal percentage.
This defensive effort led to fast break points and gave Chicago a 3-2 lead heading back to Atlanta.
Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah didn't manage to find the bottom of the net once, but had only taken two shots.
He was absolutely not a factor offensively. He did grab six boards along with four assists and was his usual energy factor.
Carlos Boozer, while still not performing to what his contract suggests he should, got a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds of of 4-11 shooting.
His defense was decent, but he left his man open from time to time which Chicago has come to expect.
Neither player was on the court during crunch time, being benched for the likes of Taj Gibson and Omer Asik.
Although starters, they weren't enough of a factor to play the last minutes in Coach Thibodeau's book.
They're passing, but not with flying colors.
Taj Gibson and Omer Asik
Bulls fans found themselves without the likes of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah on the court in the fourth.
Instead, they witnessed two young players in Omer Asik and Taj Gibson. They led the defensive charge down low during the Bulls' amazing final stretch.
Gibson was hitting all of his shots, whether it was a mid range jumper, a hook floater, or a post up move with an "and one."
He has seemingly come out of his shell during this series and has looked more impressive than ever before. The Bulls new these potential was there and they are finally seeing it.
Asik may not have had the offensive firepower that Gibson did, but he certainly held his own in the paint on the defensive side.
Look how far Asik has come since opening the season. Go watch the opening two weeks.
He was just a lanky guy who had no idea how to run defensive schemes, set a pick, or adjust to the speed of the NBA. This could be Thibodeau's best coaching job of the year.
Luol Deng as the Secondary Scorer
Luol Deng hit the Bulls first seven points and negated the idea that Chicago would get off to another slow start.
Without Deng's initial surge, this game could have gone the complete other direction.
Deng finished with 23 points off of 8-18 shooting. He could serve as the No. 2 scoring option if Boozer continues to struggle.
As long as he remains a threat to shoot, opposing defenses will not be able to focus so much on ensuring Derrick Rose doesn't get to the basket.
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