|Team ||Poss||Off Eff||eFG%||FT Rate||OR%||TO%|
|ATL ||85 ||0.859 ||35.7 ||23.4 ||18.5 ||14.1 |
|CHI||85 ||1.012||42.3 ||17.9 ||32.6 ||16.5|
The Hawks won Game 1 on the strength of their energy, their execution, and their shot-making. In Game 2, energy was all they offered with any consistency. Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams both failed to convert transition opportunities early. Jamal Crawford took the first possible (as opposed to the first plausible) shot most of the night. Outside of the three buckets at the basket Al Horford or Jeff Teague created for him in the second half and a putback of one of those Crawford misses, Josh Smith didn't (nor did he deserve to, 0-6 on jump shots) make a field goal. Horford earned six assists but, in no small part due to Joakim Noah's active defense, couldn't buy a bucket for himself. Only Teague (21 points on 14 shots, 3 assists, 0 turnovers) provided a link to the extraordinary Game 1 offensive performance.
The offensive struggles wasted a winnable defensive performance. Teague again did as good a job on Derrick Rose as could reasonably be expected before switching over to chase Kyle Korver around in the fourth quarter. The Hawks could make the change because Rose remained content (or capable only) to shoot pull-up jumpers when Jamal Crawford sagged six-to-eight feet off of him.
It was more a case of Rose not taking advantage of the matchup than Crawford putting in an unexpectedly good defensive performance. He replaced Teague with 5:20 left in the first quarter and the game tied. When Teague re-entered the game 8 minutes and 21 seconds later, the Hawks were down six and the Chicago lead would be permanent.
That the Hawks defended Chicago so effectively despite an execrable defensive performance from Josh Smith only underlines the wasted opportunity. Though Smith blocked Carlos Boozer's shots for fun, he grabbed just three defensive rebounds in 35:41 and quite possibly failed to block out a single Bull the entire night. Al Horford battling alone in the paint for a defensive rebound against two or more Chicago Bulls was a common sight as Noah, Boozer, and Taj Gibson each grabbed at least three offensive rebounds.
In a half-court game where both teams struggled to make shots, rebounding gained outsized importance. For the Bulls, rebounding was a team effort. It's true that the Hawks, especially with Marvin Williams and Zaza Pachulia on the bench for most of the night, lack talented rebounders and that the Bulls are always going to be likely to win that battle. That likelihood is no excuse for Josh Smith displaying a greater interest in complaining about the mistakes and shortcomings which defined his performance tonight than in rebounding Chicago's frequent missed shots.
The Hawks return to Atlanta with homecourt advantage but without the full margin for error Chicago's 42.3 eFG% and 14 turnovers tonight could have provided them.