Monday, May 2, 2011
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Gwinnett Daily Post
CHICAGO -- Joe Johnson scored 34 points and the Atlanta Hawks beat Derrick Rose and the top-seeded Chicago Bulls 103-95 on Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
As if the loss itself wasn't bad enough, the Bulls got a major scare when Rose came up limping at the end of the game. Their MVP candidate stepped on Jamal Crawford's foot as he dribbled out the final seconds and was helped off by teammates and a trainer.
The Hawks went on a 15-2 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters to turn a 69-65 deficit into an 80-71 lead with 10:27 remaining.
Johnson hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points during that stretch, and the Hawks hung on.
Game 2 is Wednesday night at the United Center.
Johnson was brilliant, hitting 12 of 18 shots and all five 3-point attempts. Crawford scored 22 points and Jeff Teague added 10 while starting at the point for the injured Kirk Hinrich. The Hawks shot 51.3 percent against one of the league's stingiest defenses.
As alarming as that was, though, the sight of Rose limping off sent a real shiver through Chicago. The Bulls simply can't afford to lose him if they're going to keep this run going, even though it wasn't his best night.
He scored 24 points after a slow start but was just 11 of 27 from the field.
Luol Deng scored 21 points for Chicago while Carlos Boozer added 14 points and eight rebounds despite a turf toe injury on his right foot. But it was a rough night overall for the Bulls.
Pushed by Indiana in a tough five-game opening series, they fought through a brutal first quarter to pull within one point at halftime and led by as many as six in the third quarter before this one slipped away.