Derrick Rose had is shot going from Inside, outside and all around the floor. All that was separating the Chicago Bulls star from the antics of some guy named Michael Jordan was that other guy's signature tongue wag.
Yes folks, another Bulls budding superstar controlled a game in the ATL and the Atlanta Hawks simply didn't have a chance.
Rose set a career-high with 44 points to lead the Bulls to an easy 99-82 win over the Hawks in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup on Friday night at Philips Arena.
Taj Gibson had 13 points and Kyle Korver added 11 for the Bulls, who took a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven series. More importantly for Chicago, they also took back home court in the series.
Chicago lead from the start and Rose imposed his will against an Atlanta team that couldn't get anything going from outside.
How quickly did Atlanta coach Larry Drew know that his Hawks team was in trouble in this one?
Less than a minute into the game. Chicago scored the first four points on rather easy buckets while Atlanta just sat around the perimeter as the iso-Joe offense turned into the iso-no-one-moves-around offense. Johnson took a tough shot and Drew called a time out before the Hawks could get another touch on offense.
It didn't matter. Chicago took a quick 9-3 lead and never really looked back. The Hawks were beat down by Rose; and when the league's MVP was on the bench, they were beat down by Bulls reserves like Korver and Gibson too.
By the end of this one, those "MVP" chants by the pro-Chicago contingent in the sold-out Philips Arena crowd got louder and louder. And Hawks fans lost their will to counter those cheers with those of "Let's Go Hawks."
Yep, it was yet another epic night for the visiting team and their fans at a postseason game in the transient city of Atlanta.
Two Hawks players had decent nights on Friday. Jeff Teague lead Atlanta with 21 points -- but it's not like Rose will be getting any Defensive Player of the Year awards anytime soon. After taking a couple of ill-advised jumpers and getting serenaded with "Noooo"s from the Philips Arena crowd, Josh Smith finally took it to the hoop, notching 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
But it was not enough for a Hawks team that simply didn't have an answer for Rose.
The NBA Most Valuable Player ended his night to "MVP" chants when he was taken out of the game with 3:06 left in the fourth quarter. He finished 16-for-27 from the field, 4-for-7 from beyond the arc and 8-for-9 from the charity stripe while adding seven assists and five boards.
Atlanta was terrible defending the 3-point line as Chicago made 10-of-20 from beyond the arc, and once again, this Hawks team forgot how to box out in the paint.
Joakim Noah was left unchecked near the offensive glass and grabbed eight offensive rebounds for a Chicago team that held an 18-9 edge on the offensive glass and a 47-39 advantage on the boards.
It's tough enough to beat Rose and the No. 1 seed Bulls if you defend and rebound, but when you lose those kind of battles, you simply do not have a chance.
Couple that with a Bulls defense that held Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson to 17 points on 7-for-19 shooting from the field and this one ended up as another one of those terrible Hawks losses on their home court. A game, which included a Pape Sy sighting. He actually recorded a point in garbage time down the stretch.
Johnson, Marvin Williams and Al Horford had 10 each for Atlanta, which finished just 1-for-6 from beyond the 3-point line.
For more on the series, visit SB Nation's NBA hub, Peachtree Hoops, Blog-a-Bull, and SB Nation Chicago.