Rose, Bulls slash Hawks defense

Derrick Rose knifed to the basket. Kyle Korver slalomed through screens. Joakim Noah stormed the offensive glass.

Friday night at Philips Arena, the Chicago Bulls presented the Hawks with a litany of offensive questions to solve. They proved unable to answer any of them. The Bulls' might lies in their defense, but they gave the Hawks a thrashing on the offensive end in their 99-82 win in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.

"You have to come out and match energy and effort," said Hawks coach Larry Drew, whose team did not.

Rose detonated the Hawks with 44 points, a career high for the postseason. He used his explosive quickness and pick and rolls to attack the basket for dunks and layups. He tossed in jumpers and 3-pointers. Where Hawks guard Jeff Teague and perhaps a balky ankle forced Rose to require a high volume of shots to earn his points in the first two games, Rose needed only 27 shots Friday for his 44.

"He played like the MVP [Friday]," Teague said.

Rose helped set his team's pace in the first quarter, when he took Teague off the dribble, then exploded past Joe Johnson and Al Horford for a dunk. The Hawks established their own tempo even earlier, when Luol Deng hit an open jump shot and then Rose rushed the basket in transition for a 4-0 lead. Drew, who had implored his team prior to the game to match the Bulls' energy, felt forced to call timeout just 49 seconds into the game.

Said Jamal Crawford of the early timeout, "That's not something you want to see in a game of this magnitude."

The Hawks were a step slow and out of place defensively, letting go to waste an active defensive performance by forward Josh Smith, who had 13 rebounds to go with four blocks and 17 points.

The execution didn't improve much after Drew's early timeout, a move he called "really discouraging." The defese was particularly soft in the second quarter. The Bulls made 10 of their first 13 shots in the quarter, lifting them from a 29-23 lead at the beginning of the quarter to a 54-35 advantage with 2:50 to go in the half when Rose drove on Teague on the right wing, hit the brakes to create separation and lifted up for a 21-foot jumper. The Hawks never got closer than 11 points after that.

In the quarter, Korver, a backup guard, weaved through screens to get open for jumpers and dinged the Hawks for eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

"Their bigs definitely get him open," Crawford said. "He runs around a lot. You have to be very aware of where he's at. But it's hard because you have to pay attention to Rose. If he drives, you have to help in."

Therein lay part of the Hawks' problems Friday. The Bulls' spacing and screening, along with Rose's kickouts, made it difficult for them to close out on Chicago's shooters. Where the Bulls shot 13 of 40 from 3-point range in the first two games, they were 10 for 20 Friday. Rose himself was 4-for-7.

Said Teague, "We're going to have to live with some of the open shots to keep Derrick Rose out of the lane."

There was more, even, than that. The Hawks permitted the Bulls to out-hustle them on the glass again, giving up 18 offensive rebounds. Noah, the Bulls' frenetic center, had 15 rebounds, eight on the offensive end. In the series, the Hawks have a 31-rebound deficit through three games.

On a night when it was the Hawks' turn to respond to the Bulls' problems, Chicago only presented more riddles in re-claiming home-court advantage.

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