CHICAGO (CBS) A win on Thursday night and the Chicago Bulls would eliminate the Atlanta Hawks and advance toe the Eastern Conference finals to take on Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
But the Hawks aren’t just going to let the Bulls walk into their home arena and end their season in from of their fans.
Here are the keys to a Bulls’ victory in Game 6:
Defense Wins Championships
-The Bulls were one of the top defensive teams in the regular season, and that trend has continued into the playoffs. In their 10 postseason games, the Bulls have only given up 90.4 points per game. While Derrick Rose is the league’s MVP and has been dominate all season long, it’s clear that the Bulls will only go as far as their defense can take them. In two of their three postseason losses they’ve given up 100 points and in only one of their seven postseason wins they’ve given up over that 90.4 average.
-Over the last three games Rose has scored 44, 34 and 33 points, respectively. Rose’s scoring isn’t likely to change too much, but the Bulls are a much more dangerous team when they get contributions from the other four starters or from the bench. Luol Deng has averaged 15.6 points per game this series and Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson have been good in stretches. But someone other than Rose will have to step up if the Bulls don’t want to take this series to a full seven games.
Dominate The Boards
Their two losses in this series have also been Chicago’s two worst rebounding games. They were out rebounded 38-37 in Game 1, and only had a one-rebound edge in Game 4 (37-36). When the Bulls crash the boards they extend their possessions and reduce those of the Hawks, simple concept but very important. Joakim Noah has been great in the playoffs, averaging 10.8 rebounds per game.