So Atlanta, which polished off Orlando Thursday, is up next for the Bulls. Round 2 begins Monday.
The Bulls were 2-1 against Atlanta during the regular season. All three games were played in March.
Here are capsules of how the regular-season meetings went:
* Bulls lose 83-80 on March 2 in Atlanta
The Bulls opened a 14-0 lead before the Hawks knew what hit them, and led 44-25 with 2:40 left in the first half, but blew a 19-point lead.
“We couldn’t get stops and we couldn’t score,” coach Tom Thibodeau said after the meltdown.
`This game was definitely on me,” Derrick Rose said. “I was missing shots I normally hit, I made some dumb, careless passes. I didn’t step up like I was supposed to. But I guarantee it won’t happen again.”
Trust me, it wasn’t all on DRose.
* Bulls win 94-76 on March 11 in Chicago.
After spending two days getting round-the-clock treatment for a bruised left thigh, Luol Deng had 18 points and nine rebounds and seven assists as Carlos Boozer sat out with a sprained ankle.
“Luol was tremendous,” Thibideau said. `You can’t ask for anything more. And then Derrick was Derrick in the second half. He just took it over.”
Rose finished with 34 points, 24 of them in the second half, 18 of them in a spectacular third quarter. And the Bulls needed that.
* Bulls win 114-81 on March 22 in Atlanta.
The Bulls won their 10th in 11 games overall, and their seventh in their last nine road games, with a sensational first half.
With the 19-point second-quarter lead they blew in an 83-80 loss here on March 2 on their minds, the Bulls erupted for a 72-43 halftime lead, the most points they have scored in a half this season.
“When we got the lead, we were just telling each other, it’s not going to happen again,” said Rose, who had 30 points and 10 assists.
Deng had 27 points. And second-unit anchor Taj Gibson shrugged off a painful turf-toe injury on his right big toe to contribute nine points and eight rebounds.
“You can’t say enough about what Luol does for our team,” Thibodeau said. “Oftentimes, it goes unnoticed, but to none of us. The way he’s playing is spectacular.”
The Bulls, who pounded on Sacramento 132-92 on March 21, posted consecutive wins by more than 30 points for the first time since Jan. 10 and 11, 1995.