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Thursday, May 12, 2011
Bulls closing in on conference finals

By ESPN Stats & Info

The Chicago Bulls travel to Atlanta with a chance to close out the Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night.

When a team leads a seven-game series 3-2, it goes on to win the series 85.5 percent of the time.

The Bulls are 12-1 in a best-of-seven series when leading 3-2, with their only loss coming in the 1975 Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

As for the Hawks, they're 3-13 when trailing 3-2 in a best-of-seven series. Their three comebacks were: 1960 Division Finals against the Minneapolis Lakers; 1961 Division Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers; and 2010 First Round against the Milwaukee Bucks. (The Hawks haven't won two series in the same postseason since moving to Atlanta in 1968.)

One of the keys to the Bulls’ postseason success has been the performance of Derrick Rose. In Game 5, Rose was able to get to the basket at will, scoring 18 points on 9-of-16 shooting inside 5 feet.

Rose has scored 96 points inside 5 feet during the postseason, and has 32 assists in the same range -- both numbers lead this year's playoffs.

While Rose has had his way in the paint, the Hawks have struggled mightily outside of it.

On field goal attempts outside of 10 feet, Joe Johnson is Atlanta's only perimeter player who has been productive (27-for-51, 52.9 percent).
Josh Smith
Smith

Of the five other Hawks in this series who have taken at least 15 shots beyond 10 feet, none has shot better than 36.4 percent from the floor. The biggest culprit has been Josh Smith, who has missed 26 of 29 shots outside of 10 feet. Jamal Crawford hasn’t been much better, shooting 31.6 percent (12-38) from that distance.

However, within 5 feet of the basket, Smith is 21-for-35 (60.0 percent) in the series.