Atlanta exorcised some playoff demons with its unexpected Game 1 victory over Chicago in the opening game of this Eastern Conference semifinal series. The fifth-seeded Hawks (49-40 straight up, 43-46 against the spread) had dropped 15 consecutive contests in second-round games dating back to 1997 before upsetting the Bulls.
Top-seed Chicago (66-22 SU, 51-35-2 ATS) needs a victory in this spot on its home court before this series moves to Atlanta. The Bulls will play Game 2 with point guard Derrick Rose listed as ‘probable’ after spraining his ankle at the end of the game.
Don Best's Real-Time Odds show Chicago as 8 ½-point home ‘chalk’ over Atlanta, with the total set at 179 ½. TNT will provide coverage of Wednesday’s Game 2 beginning at 5:05 p.m. PT from Chicago’s United Center.
Atlanta defeated the Bulls Monday as a 9 ½-point road underdog, 103-95, while the combined 198 points soared ‘over’ the 177 ½-point closing total. The Hawks are now 8-3 ATS the past 11 meetings in this series, while the ‘over’ is 9-3 the previous 12 encounters.
Atlanta took control of the contest by outscoring Chicago by 10 points in the first quarter, 28-18, and seven in the fourth, 31-24. The Hawks did grab one more rebound in the triumph, 38-37, while the Bulls dished out one more assist, 21-20. Atlanta shot a stellar 51 percent (40-of-78) from the field, and 54 percent (7-of-13) from behind the arc.
Shooting guard Joe Johnson led all scorers with 34 points on 12-of-18 shooting, connecting on all five of his 3-point attempts. Guard Jamal Crawford contributed 22 in the triumph, while center Al Horford provided nine and 13 rebounds.
Chicago enjoyed advantages in fast break points, 18-8, and points in the paint, 48-40. The Bulls shot 45 percent (37-of-83) from the field, and 44 percent (8-of-18) from 3-point land. Chicago entered the fourth quarter with a slight one-point advantage, but the Hawks went on a 15-2 run from the end of the third quarter to early in the fourth.
Rose, who was recently named the league’s Most Valuable Player, paced the offense with 24 points and 10 assists. The 22-year-old was 11-of-27 from the field, but did not attempt a free throw after averaging 12 free throw attempts in the first-round series.
Small forward Luol Deng accounted for 21 and six rebounds in the setback, while power forward Carlos Boozer had 14 and eight. Center Joakim Noah provided 11 and nine, while shooting guard Kyle Korver netted nine.
Atlanta point guard Kirk Hinrich is ‘doubtful’ for this contest due to a hamstring injury. Backup Jeff Teague played well in the Game 1 triumph, recording 10 points and five assists while limiting Rose to 2-of-9 shooting when guarding him.
Atlanta has now seen the ‘under’ go 13-6 its past 19 road games. Chicago dropped to 2-8 ATS its previous 10 home outings. The Bulls went 2-1 SU and ATS during the three regular season meetings with the Hawks, with the ‘under’ going 2-1.