NBA

Thu, May 12, 2011 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Boozer steps up in Bulls' Game 6 win

Image: Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (© Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)
Carlos Boozer goes 10 of 16 from the floor for a game-high 23 points.
Share This Story

   
 

ATLANTA (AP)

Derrick Rose simply had to run the show. The MVP had plenty of help in this one, and the Chicago Bulls are off to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since M.J. was at the controls.

Carlos Boozer scored 23 points and Rose doled out 12 assists, pushing Chicago out to a big lead in the first half that carried the Bulls past Atlanta 93-73 in the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night. They finished off the Hawks in six games.

Chicago advanced to its first conference final since 1998, when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were on their way to a second three-peat. The Bulls fell on hard times after that glorious era, including three straight 60-loss seasons, but they have put together a deep, talented team that won more games than anyone during the regular season.

Yep, even more than the ballyhooed Miami Heat, whose Big Three are waiting in the next round, with a spot in the NBA Final on the line. Game 1 is Sunday in Chicago.

Rose was right in the middle of things, of course. He scored 19 points in addition to setting up all those baskets, but this was a textbook performance by the guys around him, each of them comfortable in a supporting role, each of them willing to do the dirty work at the defensive end.

The most impressive number: Chicago had assists on all but seven of its 31 baskets. Or, come to think of it, maybe it was this stat: The Hawks shot just 37 percent (27 of 74) and rarely got an open look.

That wasn't the case for Boozer. He kept winding up with the ball with no one around, and kept knocking down jump shots. He went 10-of-16 from the field, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out five assists.

Luol Deng hit some big baskets early and finished with 13 points. Joakim Noah scored 11 and stifled the Hawks with three blocks. Omer Asik chipped in with two swats of his own. Keith Bogans made only one basket, but it was a big 3-pointer as the Bulls put it away in the third quarter.

And, boy, did everyone play some defense.

Atlanta had hoped to extend the series to a Game 7, feeling the pressure would be squarely on the Bulls if it came down to a winner-take-all. But Chicago squashed those hopes right from the opening tip. The Bulls never trailed, and the lead was 10 by the end of the first quarter.

The Hawks had been in that position before. They fell behind by 15 in Game 5, then fought back to lead early in the fourth quarter. Chicago dominated down the stretch for a 13-point win, but the Bulls weren't about to cut it that close again.

With the loss, Atlanta extended an infamous playoff mark: The Hawks have never advanced past the second round since moving from St. Louis in 1968.

Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 19 points. Josh Smith was the only other player in double figures with 18. The Hawks went 1-of-11 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Rose had been averaging nearly 30 points a game in the playoffs. No need for heroics in this one; he took just 14 shots, his lowest of the postseason, and wound up with his second-fewest points.

That's OK. He got to spend the final minutes on the bench, celebrating with his teammates.

Deng went down early, landing hard after Smith got a piece of him going for the block. Deng was OK, staying in the game to shoot a pair of free throws after a timeout.

Then Atlanta got its own scare early in the second quarter. Jeff Teague, the fill-in point guard who had been the surprise of the series, landed on his right arm along the baseline. He went straight to the X-ray room, his arm dangling limply beside him as he trotted off in obvious pain.

It was only a sprain, but Teague had it taped heavily when he returned late in the second quarter. During breaks, he rubbed at the tape and kept flexing his wrist. The second-year player wasn't a factor, scoring just 4 points on 2-of-6 shooting.

But he was hardly the only one who struggled. Al Horford, who had been named to the All-NBA third team earlier in the day, went 2-of-10. So did Jamal Crawford.

The Bulls raced out to a big lead for the second game in a row, led by Boozer. He had 13 points, four rebounds and two assists in the first half as Chicago led by as many at 17.

Atlanta made a late surge, the crowd on its feet when Smith pulled off a spectacular dunk on a lob from Johnson - despite getting a shove from Noah as he was soaring toward the hoop.

But a big call went against Smith, costing the Hawks a chance to cut the gap to single figures before halftime. He scored off another fast break, and the referees had to confer before ruling the Rose had drawn the offensive foul. Smith grabbed his head in disbelief and pleaded with the officials, to no avail.

Chicago settled for a 45-35 halftime lead.

Notes: The Hawks stuck with their big lineup, starting Jason Collins at center for the third straight game and bringing swingman Marvin Williams off the bench. ... Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau on Atlanta C Zaza Pachulia, who's been accused of going down a little too easily trying to draw fouls: ''He sells. That's all I'll say: he sells.''

Tagged: Hawks, Derrick Rose, Bulls, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Josh Smith, Al Horford

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..