The Chicago Bulls pulled away from the Atlanta Hawks late in Game 5, winning 95-83 to take a 3-2 lead. Thursday night in Atlanta thus becomes a quite lit'ral must-win for the Hawks, who put a scare into the Bulls and led in the fourth before collapsing offensively down the stretch.
Derrick Rose didn't shoot all that well, but drew 13 free throws worth of fouls on his way to 33 points and nine assists. Again, Jeff Teague can either provide the team's entire offense, or he can try to stay in Rose's way for over 42 minutes. He can't outscore Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Al Horford and Josh Smith every night and be expected to contain the NBA MVP.
The Hawks have played with heart two games in a row. If they can do it one more time, a hopefully fierce Highlight Factory crowd can help send the series to Game 7, which by itself would exceed just about any expectation anybody had for these Hawks.
Game 1: Hawks def. Bulls, 103-95 (1-0)
Game 2: Bulls def. Hawks, 86-73 (1-1)
Game 3: Bulls def. Hawks, 99-82 (2-1)
Game 4: Hawks def. Bulls, 100-88 (2-2)
Game 5: Bulls def. Hawks, 95-83 (3-2)
Game 6: Thu., May 12 in Atlanta, 8 p.m. EDT, ESPN, 97.9 FM
Game 7: Sun., May 15 in Chicago, Time TBD, TNT, 97.9 FM
For more on the series, visit SB Nation's NBA hub, Peachtree Hoops, Blog-a-Bull, and SB Nation Chicago.