Unlikely combo leads Bulls in fourth

May, 11, 2011
5/11/11
12:38
AM ET
By ESPN Stats & Info
ESPN.com
Archive
It must have seemed like déjà vu for the Chicago Bulls, with 69 points through three quarters and entering the fourth with a slim lead. But, after being outscored by 14 points in the fourth quarter of Game 4, Chicago bounced back to defeat the Atlanta Hawks with a strong finish in Game 5.

In the fourth quarter of Game 4, the Bulls allowed the Hawks to shoot 65 percent from the field and got sloppy, committing five turnovers. On Tuesday night, Chicago held Atlanta to 31.3 percent field goal shooting in the final frame thanks to an unlikely combination of players.

At 1:58 of the third, Carlos Boozer joined Joakim Noah on the bench, where the two would remain the rest of the game. The Bulls trotted out a five-man unit of Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik. They played the next 12 minutes and 53 seconds together, turning a one-point lead into a 12-point lead. Prior to Game 5, that unit played just four minutes together in the playoffs.

Gibson scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter, while Asik grabbed three rebounds and added a blocked shot. They led a bench that contributed 13 fourth-quarter points in Game 5 after scoring just four points in the last quarter of Game 4.

Rose (33 points) continued his strong postseason play, notching his third consecutive 30-point performance. He really turned it on to begin the fourth, scoring or assisting on eight of the Bulls' first nine baskets. He finished with 11 points and three assists in the fourth.

For the Hawks, their struggles shooting from distance hurt them in Game 5, particularly the duo of Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford.

In order for Atlanta to have success against Chicago, the Hawks need Crawford and Johnson to make jump shots. The two were just 3-for-14 from 15-plus feet on Tuesday.

In the Hawks two wins this series, the pair have shot over 53 percent from 15 feet and beyond. In the three losses, they have shot only 30 percent from that range, scoring less than 10 points per game from that distance.

The Hawks struggled from deep, going just 1-for-12 from 3-point range, with Johnson and Crawford combining to go 1-for-9. Atlanta is just 10-for-40 from 3-point range in its three losses during the series, while 11-for-24 in its two wins.

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