The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs by employing the strategy of letting Dwight Howard get his points while attempting to shut down his supporting cast. The strategy seems to be carrying over into their second round match up against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls as well.
SB Nation's Tom Ziller points out that Rose has an incredibly high usage rate in the playoffs. More so than either LeBron James or Kobe Bryant have ever recorded.
Per Basketball Reference, Rose is using 36.6 percent of the Bulls' possessions while on the court in the playoffs, up from 32.2 percent in the regular season.
What does it mean? Well Bryant's highest rate was 34 percent in 2003 and James posted a 36.4 mark in 2009. The Bulls have successfully built their team around Rose and when his efficiency has went up as in Game 3, they have been really successful. In Atlanta's two wins, Rose was 11 for 27 and 12 for 32 from the floor. Chicago has made it work this season and Rose is the league MVP for a reason but as last night's fourth quarter shows it can be hard to play one on five every trip up the floor.
More from Ziller:
This is both good and bad. It helps explains Rose's almost consistent inefficiency -- 34 points on 32 field goal attempts and 11 free throws in Chicago's Game 4 loss on Sunday -- but it also makes the Bulls incredibly vulnerable if a team can figure out how to contain the MVP. The Hawks have put a spook into Chicago, and should the Bulls advance an excellent defense in Boston or Miami await.
In the Hawks two wins they have done a pretty good job of containing Rose and it is a key point as the rest of this series unfolds.