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Playoff Box Score: Bulls Grab 3-2 Series Lead

By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 11, 2011 3:00PM

The Bulls played two sub-par quarters last night, bookended by two excellent quarters. Playing a good half of basketball was apparently enough, as the Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks 95-83 at the United Center.

A 32-point first quarter gave the Bulls an early double digit advantage. Luol Deng chipped in 11 first quarter points, while Keith Bogans nailed two three pointers. The 15 point lead the Bulls held at 32-17 would be their biggest advantage all night. The Hawks clamped down on the Bulls in the second quarter, limiting the Bulls to 16 points while trimming the lead to six at the half. The Bulls continued to struggle in the third quarter and the Hawks grabbed the lead toward the end of the period, before a Ronnie Brewer layup gave the Bulls a one point lead heading into the final twelve minutes of action. The Bulls then locked down the Hawks, holding them to just 15 points. The Bulls used an early 9-0 run to create some breathing room and continued to extend the lead to put the game away. While the bench had been eerily quiet all night, Taj Gibson came alive in the fourth, scoring all 11 of his points in the final period. Derrick Rose added 11 points of his own as he willed the Bulls to victory.

Rose led the Bulls in scoring once again, finishing with 33 points on 11-24 shooting. Deng contributed 23 points, cooling down after his torrid first quarter. Bogans chipped in 11, and Carlos Boozer recorded his first double double of the series with 11 points and 12 boards. Jeff Teague again impressed, leading the Hawks with 21 points. Joe Johnson was held to 15 points.

With last night's win, the Bulls take a 3-2 lead in the best of seven series. They can close it out with a win in Atlanta on Thursday (7:00 p.m. ESPN/ESPN 1000)