Friday, May 13, 2011
Bulls ride Boozer into conference finals
By ESPN Stats & Info
The Chicago Bulls dominated from start to finish, defeating the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 to close out the series and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1998 (Michael Jordan's last season with the team).
For the first time in the series Derrick Rose did not lead the Bulls in scoring. Carlos Boozer bounced back from a tough Game 5 performance (11 points) with a team-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
In his first 10 postseason games with the Bulls, Boozer was averaging just 10.7 points per game while shooting just over 41 percent from the field. On Thursday, he shot 62.5 percent from the field on his 16 attempts.
According to video tracking, Boozer did much of his damage in Game 6 with the jump shot. Boozer made 7-of-10 jumpers in Game 6, including each of his first six attempts.
The seven made jump shots almost doubled the total that he had made in the first five games of the series (4-8 FG in Games 1-5).
Boozer also chipped in with five assists, his most in a game this postseason. The entire Bulls team shared the ball well in Game 6 -- 34 of their 41 field goals (82.9 percent) came off of assists.
The 82.9 percent mark is the highest by any team to clinch a playoff series on the road in the last 15 seasons. It was the highest by any team in a clinching game since the 2003 Spurs assisted on 24 of 29 made field goals at home in Game 6 of their first round series against the Phoenix Suns.
As for the Hawks, they continued to struggle shooting outside the paint, which doomed them in their losses during the series. Atlanta scored 52 of its 73 points either in the paint (34 points) or on the free throw line (18).
Atlanta was just 10-for-41 on shots outside the paint, including just 1-for-11 from three. For the series, the Hawks were 11-for-51 from 3-point range in the four losses, while making 11 of their 24 attempts in their two victories.
Atlanta is now 0-15 all-time in the Conference Semifinal round since the current conference format was established to begin the 1970-71 season. In fact, since moving to Atlanta from St. Louis, the Hawks have yet to win more than one postseason series in any single playoff year.