The Atlanta Hawks surprised everyone with their first-round upset of the Orlando Magic, and for a franchise teetering on the brink of blowing things up, it had to be an encouraging step forward. The problem is, it's a step toward the Bulls.
It all comes down to a simple question: With Kirk Hinrich expected to miss the series with a hamstring injury, who guards Derrick Rose? Jamal Crawford? Jeff Teague? Joe Johnson? You might say they'll be playing matador defense. (HEY-O!) It's the worst case scenario for a Hawks team that would have been a massive underdog regardless.
Think about it this way--the Hawks haven't been great on offense all year, and the Bulls have the best defense in the NBA. Already, you're talking about an uphill battle. The Bulls' only weakness comes on offense, when they tend to get one-dimensional, and sometimes a little too dependent on Derrick Rose. But when Derrick Rose vs. Atlanta's point guards is the best matchup on the floor for either team, Chicago's only possible weakness becomes a strength, and... Well, Atlanta's in trouble.
The Pick: Chicago in 5.