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This post is meant to preview the entire series. It will be slightly different than the game preview threads that you see from me frequently on HTTH. You will see those threads for the postseason too, but this one is meant more to look at the entire series.

Regular Season Matchups

3/2/2011 – Bulls 80 Hawks 83 (Horford ATL 32 pts, 16 reb)

3/11/2011- Hawks 76 Bulls 94 (Rose CHI 34 pts, 6 reb, 5 ast)

3/22/2011 – Bulls 114 Hawks 81 (Rose 30 pts, 10 ast)

Chicago Regular Season Leaders:

Scoring: Derrick Rose (25.0 PPG, .445 FG%, 2026 PTS)

Assists: Derrick Rose (7.7 APG, 623 AST)

Rebounds: Joakim Noah (10.4 RPG, 498 REB)

Blocks: Joakim Noah (1.50 BLKPG, 72 BLK)

Steals: Ronnie Brewer (1.31 STLPG, 106 STL)

Atlanta Regular Season Leaders:

Scoring: Joe Johnson (18.2 PPG, .443 FG%, 1312 PTS)

Assists: Joe Johnson (4.7 APG, 338 AST)

Rebounds: Al Horford (9.3 RPG, 718 REB)

Blocks: Josh Smith (1.56 BLKPG, 120 BLK)

Steals: Josh Smith (1.29 STLPG, 99 STL)

2011 Team Stats

PPG: Bulls 98.6, Hawks 95.0

RPG: Bulls 44.2, Hawks 39.3

APG: Bulls 22.3, Hawks 22.0

FG%: Bulls .462, Hawks .462

FT%: Bulls .743, Hawks .779

3PT%: Bulls .361, Hawks .352

Prediction

Current Line (Series) – Chicago -850, Atlanta +575

We’ll get a lot more into talking about this series in the individual game preview threads. I think Marco and some of our readers may think higher of Atlanta than I do, but I’m very confident heading in to this series. I liked the matchup before Kirk Hinrich went down last night. Now, with him being doubtful with a hamstring, I like it even more. I don’t think the Hawks have any prayer of slowing down Derrick. Who is going to guard him if Kirk can’t go? Jamal Crawford? Joe Johnson? Teague? I bet Derrick is licking his lips there. He should take less of a pounding in this series too. I could see Pachulia getting a few flagrants, but that should be it. I don’t think they will have 3 guys beating on him like Indiana did.

Offensively, I think Horford can hurt us, but he’s the only player on the team that really scares me. From what I have seen of Atlanta this season, they are a team that takes a lot of bad shots. That plays right into the Bulls hands with their strong perimeter defense. We know all about Jamal Crawford. He’s coming off a good offensive series against Orlando, but he’s a chucker. Their offense isn’t overly complicated: lots of drives and kicks and lots of high pick and rolls. “Iso” Joe Johnson is a skilled offensive player, but I have a hard time seeing him going off against our defenders. The Bulls don’t even have to play great for this to be an easy series. Play like you did in Game 5 against Indiana and I think we’re fine.

Bulls win the series 4 games to 1.