Joe Johnson knocked down a game high 34 points while Jamal Crawford came off the bench and scored an additional 22 as the Atlanta Hawks upset the Chicago Bulls in the first game of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals winning the contest 103-95. Atlanta shot 51.3% (40-78) from the floor and a sizzling 53.8% (7-13) from outside the arc. Atlanta jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first 12 minutes of play and although the Bulls came back and made it a contest for the second and third quarters the Hawks would surge ahead again in the fourth to capture the win. Derrick Rose led the way for Chicago racking up a double-double with 24 points while Luol Deng added 21 points in the loss at the United Center.
Chicago looked as if they needed a road map to find the basket in their own building during the first period mustering just eight points in the first eight minutes of the game. Jamal Crawford drove the lane putting the ball up and in with one second to play and the Hawks were on top 28-18 at the end of the quarter. The Bulls found their shooting touch during the second quarter putting themselves right back into the contest. Carlos Boozer would make a lay-up with two seconds remaining and as the two clubs went to their locker rooms at the half Atlanta’s lead was razor-thin with the score 51-50.
Zaza Pachulia would knock down a pair at the line with all zeroes on the clock in the third and the Hawks would retain their one point advantage leading 72-71 at the conclusion of the quarter. Atlanta would start off the fourth on an 8-0 run and Chicago would never come close to recovering as the Hawks shocked the Bulls, their fans and most NBA observers by taking game one of the match-up.
Joe Johnson had a game high 34 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Jamal Crawford scored 22 points, 3 assists, a block, a rebound and a steal while Hawks reserve guard Jeff Teague had a strong performance filling in for injured starting point guard Kirk Hinrich as he added 10 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in the victory.
Rose scored 24 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and a block while Deng added 21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. Boozer had 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists while Joakim Noah chipped in 11 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and a block. The two teams will meet again Wednesday night for game two of the series.