Game Three: (1) Chicago Bulls vs (5) Atlanta Hawks, Phillips Arena
- Final Score: Bulls 99, Hawks 82
- The Hawks came back to Atlanta feeling pretty good about themselves after stunning the Bulls with a Game 1 victory and hanging tough for the majority of Game 2. That didn’t appear to sit well with Derrick Rose who took over the game with an MVP-worthy performance. As long as he can play at that level, the Hawks don’t appear to have any answers for him as Kirk Hinrich continues to rehab. With home-court advantage swinging back to the Bulls, a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals is finally within reach.
- Hawks: Joe Johnson 10 points (4-12 shooting), 1 rebound, 3 assists.
- Bulls: Derrick Rose 44 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds.
- “I would go so far as saying it’s the best game I’ve ever seen (Rose) play,” said Scottie Pippen. “He’s had some great games, but his lack of turnovers [two], his intensity, his leadership, it was all showcased [Friday].”
- Key Stats: The Hawks starters were a combined -95 in +/-. Essentially they didn’t get it done, but it’s a problematic return to form for the Hawks in a second-round playoff series.
- “When I called that first timeout, 49 seconds into the game, I saw the [Bulls’] energy level,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “I knew we were in trouble. I saw right then and there that my team didn’t make the commitment. To be honest, that was very discouraging. Not even a minute into the game, to have a lack of effort. … There was something wrong.”
- Bulls lead the series 2-1. Game Four will be in Atlanta on Sunday, May 8th.
Game Three: (2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (3) Dallas Mavericks, American Airlines Center
- Final Score: Mavericks 98, Lakers 92.
- Everyone from Pau Gasol to Phil Jackson looked quite rattled as the Mavs took a commanding 3-0 lead in what was thought to be a highly-contested playoff series between two powerhouses of the West. Instead, the Lakers have been stunned by the Mavs superior depth and Dirk Nowitzki’s unstoppable offensive firepower that has been too much for the defending champions to counter.
- Mavericks: Nowitzki 32 points, 9 rebounds.
- Lakers: Bryant 17 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists.
- Key Stats: The Lakers actually made more field goals (39) than the Mavs (31). The winning margin was due to the fact that the Mavs made 9 more three-pointers and hit 13 more free throws.
- “Dirk Nowitzki made it happen,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “Just about everything that happened down the stretch was a direct result of him either scoring the ball or making a play to get somebody a shot.”
- “There’s not a whole lot I can do but substitute,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “The rest is up to them. It’s up to them to do the right thing. I call a play or two here and there, but that’s about it. They know what to do. It’s just what it is. Kobe said to me this morning that it seems right that this is the kind of way your last season should be. Something like this comes up and it has to be another hurdle that you have to cross. But it’s not me crossing it, it’s the team.”
- Dallas leads the series 3-0. Game Three will be in Dallas on Sunday, May 8th.