The Hawks surprised many by taking their first round series from the Magic in six games. They then shocked almost all, by beating the Bulls in Chicago 103-95 in the first game of their semifinal series. However, the Hawks were able to win just one game after that (100-88 in Game 4). The final ‘dagger’ came last night, as the Bulls won convincingly in Atlanta, 93-73. The Hawks connected on just 36.5 percent of their shots, including 1-of-11 on threes. After tying the series at two-all, Atlanta’s three-point shooting in Games 5 and 6 was a combined 2-of-23 (8.7 percent)! Crawford, who averaged 20.5 PPG vs Orlando, scored 22 points in Atlanta's Game 1 win over Chicago but then averaged 8.0 PPG the final five games of the series while shooting a mind-numbing 2-of-19 (10.5%) from behind the arc. The Hawks lost Games 2, 3, 5 and 6 of this series by 13, 17, 12 and 20 points, respectively.
As for the Bulls, who have blown ‘hot and cold’ this postseason and have rarely come close to looking like the team which went 24-4 after the All Star break with wins in 13 of its final 14, the team's Game 6 performance was encouraging. Boozer, who has struggled all postseason to score, led the team with 23 points while adding 10 points and even five assists. Noah, who had scored a total of just eight points in the previous three games, scored 11 points last night. Rose, who has carried the team's offensively all postseason, scored a modest 19 points (first time he was under 24 in the series) while chipping 12 assists. The Bulls now advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1998, the final year of the second “three-peat” of the Jordan era. Waiting will be the Miami Heat. The series starts Sunday with Chicago favored by 1 1/2 points in Game 1 (total of 181 1/2) but Miami favored in the series by about 2-to-1.
Chicago’s road win dropped home teams to 12-8 SU and ATS in the second round, after they had gone 32-11 SU but just 17-23-3 AT in the first round. Atlanta was a home dog, dropping them to 7-6-1 this postseason, which combined with home favorites going 22-25-2 ATS, leave home teams 29-31-3 ATS, overall. Favorites (home or away) are 28-32-3 ATS. Under bettors easily cashed last night but there have been 13 overs and seven unders in the second round, after under bettors went 26-17 (60.5 percent) in the first round. Those following the Zig-Zag Theory lost with Atlanta last night, dropping to 22-26-3 AT (minus-6.6 net games) this postseason with a play tonight on Memphis.
Heading into Game 5 of the Memphis/Oklahoma City series, the teams were tied at two-all with the previous two games having gone to single and triple overtime. In total points scored, Memphis led Oklahoma City 440-to-438. However, it was all Oklahoma City in Game 5, after the first quarter ended in a 17-all tie. The Thunder won 99-72 and tonight at 9:05 ET on TNT from Memphis, the Grizzlies will attempt to send this series back to Oklahoma City on Sunday, for a Game 7. Note that not a single one of the 11 already completed series of the 2011 postseason has gone to a seventh game. Memphis is favored by 1 1/2 points and the total is 195 1/2.