As far as tuneups go, the Chicago Bulls' 93-73 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night couldn't have gone much better. Knowing the Miami Heat were riding high and resting on their laurels waiting for the series to end, the Bulls bludgeoned the Hawks into submission, taking control early and easing to a 20-point win as the starters rested for much of the fourth quarter. And just a night after the Heat sent a message by taking down the Boston Celtics in five games, the Bulls sent one right back, letting Miami know they were ready for an Eastern Conference showdown.
Derrick Rose was his typical, MVP self, scoring 19 points and dishing-out 12 assists in 38 minutes of play. Carlos Boozer was a force inside with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. Even Joakim Noah and Luol Deng got in on the action, scoring in double-digits, as well.
It was an efficient takedown by the Bulls, who finished with the best record in the NBA, yet somehow became an underdog in the Eastern Conference finals overnight. On Sunday, the matchup we've all been waiting for gets underway as the league MVP battles the Big Three for a spot in the NBA finals. If Thursday was any indication, the Bulls are not to be taken lightly, and are ready to shut down the hype machine surrounding the Heat and their star-studded cast.
Be sure to check out our Bulls vs. Hawks hub for full series coverage. For more on the Hawks, visit Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta. For more on the Bulls, visit Blog a Bull and SB Nation Chicago.