Bulls Stop Hawks, Level Series

Joakim_NoahThe Chicago Bulls avoided a 0-2 deficit in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Wednesday, clumping down on defense to shoot down the Atlanta Hawks, 86-73, at the United Center and tie the series at one game apiece.

Derrick Rose, who received his MVP trophy from NBA Commissioner David Stern before the game, led the Bulls with 25 points but made only 10 of his 27 shots, including 1 for 8 on threes. The rest of the Bulls did not fare any better, as the overall top seed in the NBA Playoffs shot just 39 percent as a team. The Hawks, though, were even worse, shooting a horrendous 33.8 percent from the field.

Despite throwing bricks, the Hawks gave themselves a chance in the fourth as they rallied to close within six, 71-77, after a 17-foot jumper by Jeff Teague with 4:16 left. However, Loul Deng scored two-straight baskets then Rose and Joakim Noah sandwiched two free throws by Jamal Crawford with a basket each to put the Bulls beyond reach, 85-73, with 1:16 remaining. Rose added a free throw with six seconds left to set the final score.

Game 3 is on Friday at Atlanta’s Philips Arena.