HAWKS SOAR PAST CHICAGO
By: Takudzwa Makoni
After a heartbreaking lost at the buzzer to the Orlando Magic this weekend, Al Horford scored 21 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks past the Chicago Bulls 93-86 in Atlanta.
The Hawks had been on a nine-win streak until the Orlando game this past weekend, and they showed their recent form is no aberration with this victory over one of the clear championship contenders. The win marks Atllanta’s first victory over a playoff team his season, and will no doubt go some way to buttressing the confidence gained over their early-season decimation of sub-500 teams. The Bulls came into this game with their confidence high.
Despite nagging injuries to reigning defensive player of the year Noah, and Rose’s persistently troubling aches and pains as he works his way back to 100 percent after his two injury-lost seasons, Chicago’s early season blueprint has not changed from last year- aggressive, physical defence, leading to multiple extra possessions and bad shots for the opponents. Millsap scored 17 points for Atlanta. Butler led Chicago scorers with 22 points and Gibson added 15 along with his patented brand of hustle. Superstar point guard Derrick Rose managed only 14 points. A glance at their team sheet will let you know that Bulls team has the pieces to go deep into the playoffs.
The addition of Mirotic and Gasol in the off-season, along with the return of a healthy Derrick Rose means Coach Tom Thibedeau has at his disposal, arguably the most talented roster in the league. However all three of their most important pieces- Gasol, Rose and Noah are nit known for their durability, and Thibedeau’s philosophy of running guys hard for all 82 games means that a healthy Bulls team come June is no guarantee. Time will tell if this is the year the Chicago faithful have been waiting so long for.