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Sixers 79 Bulls 74: A crushing Bulls collapse as a postseason of misery continues for Chicago

May 4, 2012, 11:35 PM EDT

Philadelphia 76ers v Chicago Bulls - Game Two Getty Images

The Bulls had everything going for them. They were the number one seed, they had beaten all the contenders, they had homecourt advantage, the best defense, one of the best coaches, a superstar. And then it all went wrong.

In Game 3, they had a 14-point lead, had everything going for them. They had gotten even better defense than usual, holding the Sixers to a 46.5 third quarter efficiency. The crowd was despondent. And then it all went wrong.

The Sixers had a 149.6 offensive efficiency in the fourth quarter, they attacked and attacked, and attacked, getting to the line time and time again and came back on the Bulls for a 79-74 barnburner win to take a 2-1 lead.

It was just one of those games where the Sixers seized their momentum early, then waned when the game got tough, then pushed ahead when the Bulls ran out of energy. Joakim Noah was injured on a driving layup in the third quarter. He tried to return but couldn’t. It was pretty rough and may wind up affecting him in Game 4.

Spencer Hawes was the hero for Philadelphia (?!) with 21 point and nine rebounds, as Hawes finally got his mid-range shot to fall and the Sixers killed the Bulls’ help defense with the pick and pop. It was a huge adjustment for Philadelpia who needed it badly as Elton Brand, who had played well in the series, went 0-5 for 0 points. Evan Turner continued to play The Villain role against Chicago, as he attacked and was active in the lane. The worst thing you can do against Chicago’s defense is let them con you into shooting jumpshots, and Turner instead went right at the rim over and over and was active on the glass as well. Huge game for the young player.

Throw in more terrible point guard play from Chicago, who seemed to be missing someone (C.J. Watson and John Lucas combined for 12 points on 16 shots), and a strong performance from Jrue Holiday, and some tough defense in their own right, and Philly’s in control. A win in Game 4 puts the Bulls a seemingly impossible position going back to Chicago and you have to wonder when the emotional toll becomes too much for the Bulls, who were reportedly down in the locker room before the game. A Game 4 win in Philly and the Bulls may just not have enough to recover.

Things could have been different. They should have been different. But just like in Game 3, everything fell apart for Chicago, and the Sixers took advantage.

  1. tfoz5150 - May 4, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Big Props to the Sixers for pulling that one out. It was good to see them finally win a tight ballgame. Turner was a Beast down the stretch!

    • florida727 - May 5, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      I’m a lifelong Bulls fan, but I have to tip my cap to the Sixers for their effort. That’s the way it goes in sports. The Bulls did a great job all year but unfortunate timing and injuries are going to derail them. But give the Sixers credit. It’s one thing to have your opponent run into a string of bad luck, but you still need to take advantage of it. And the Sixers are. Hate to say it, but after Noah’s injury, now even I’m ready to call it a season. Good luck Sixers.

      • thesixersbench - May 5, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        Appreciate the best wishes. I was very upset when Rose went down – I never want to win in that fashion. Beyond that, Rose was my favorite player to watch and I feel as if I was robbed now that I won’t get to see him play the Heat in the ECF.

        As a die-hard Sixers’ fan, I know we have no business winning this series, but I’ll take Chicago’s bad breaks and move along. Hopefully our young guys – like Turner and Holliday – mature and evolve on this playoff run.

        Suddenly the ECF don’t look to far-fetched.

  2. ejc003 - May 4, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Sixers were wearing the home white jerseys tonight. Might wanna change the photo.

    • thesixersbench - May 5, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      Crack blog-journalism. Just throw up an image of Michael Irvin lying on the Veterans Stadium turf and call it a day. That’s the only stereotype he wants to invoke anyway.

  3. rajbais - May 5, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Upset alert!!!

    Upset alert!!!

    • florida727 - May 5, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      Hate to inform you, but it’s no longer an “upset” when 40% of your starting lineup is now out with injuries. Good luck Sixers.

  4. asublimeday - May 5, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    LOL how is this an upset? It’s pathetic that the sixers aren’t dominating this series without rose.

  5. iowahbr - May 5, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    After tonight the Bulls can mail their last two games in as the series, let alone a chance at the Heat, is long gone. Thibs can moan at length about injuries and court spacing but in the play-offs you need a decent go to scorer in tight games and the Bulls have none. The pick and roll looked good for 36 minutes but the double-teams and the shot clock made a mess of any Bulls offense in the 4th quarter. Between Boozer and Hamilton not money well spent for next year either and not much trade value.

  6. ramrebuild - May 5, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    doesnt Boozer get paid enough to carry the team when mr. rose and mr. noah are down.

  7. lakerade - May 5, 2012 at 5:57 AM

    Turner is fun to watch. Poor CHI, put them out of their misery already.

  8. mungman69 - May 5, 2012 at 6:19 AM

    Evan Turner is a beast. So the Bulls can play without Rose? Not.

  9. slippyal2 - May 5, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    These Bulls without Rose remind me of the Mike Fratello’s Cavs in the 90s. They can keep the games close with stellar defense, but can’t produce offensively.

  10. kvanhorn87 - May 5, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    “LOL how is this an upset? It’s pathetic that the sixers aren’t dominating this series without rose.”

    What a joke! All of the experts were saying that the 18-9 without D Rose Bulls would still make it to the finals. Go ahead and pretend that the Bulls are the Inferior
    Team. They are still better than the Sixers in most people’s eyes. But the Sixers just ripped out their hearts.

  11. gallaghedj311 - May 5, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Asublime day. Lemme tell u bout 1 seeds and 8 seeds. It’s traditionally called an upset when the 8 seed is victorious.

    Hope that clears up the confusion.

    • florida727 - May 5, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      Dear Stupid:

      It’s NOT an upset when an 8 beats a 1 when 40% of the 1’s starting lineup is OUT.

      Hope that clears up your idiotic comment.

      • jblah - May 5, 2012 at 11:36 AM

        when are you the #1 seed..even without 40% of your lineup you should be able to beat the #8 seed.

  12. bleed4philly - May 5, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Nice to see the Sixers pull it together, but let’s just enjoy this one cause we’re not getting much further, unless lebron tears his acl of course.

    • tfoz5150 - May 5, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      True that

  13. tfoz5150 - May 5, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Right when everyone was still picking the bulls even when Rose did go out. Give the Sixers some credit.

  14. jgillmeister - May 5, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    The “filly” fans showed their real class last night, cheering when Noah went down. He was a REAL man to go back in. He showed more heart than anyone on your squad.
    Indy will send you guys packing, so don’t get too excited about kicking a dog when its down, and we’ll get revenge at some point down the road.

    PS – the Chgo Tribune says that Noah’s ankle may be broken.

  15. cmerks22 - May 5, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    umm. the series ain’t over yet. and besides if noah doesn’t get hurt the bulls win. also no mention of taj Gibson hurting his knee and unable to finish the game. deng, Watson, korver all had bad games and philly barely won the game. also philly fans are the most classless group of thugs in the country. philly will still lose this series. they will find a way. come on. its philly.

  16. mungman69 - May 5, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Matt Moore must be drunk

  17. canehouse - May 5, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Not looking good for Chicago.

  18. asublimeday - May 5, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    It’s 2-1. Calm down girls.

  19. mungman69 - May 5, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Hey: Michael Irvin broke his neck in Philly. That’s football.

  20. borderline1988 - May 5, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Chicago needs another player who can create and score. Their offense is brutal, and to be honest, even with Rose in they are a middling offensive team.
    They wouldn’t have beaten the Heat in the ECF if healthy. Everyone knows that.

    I love Chicago’s toughness, teamwork and defense, but this is not a championship team, even when healthy. They are missing a piece and that should be clear to any objective fan.
    Rose, Deng, Noah and Gibson represent a terrific core. Everyone else should be expendable in order to find a scorer in the off-season.

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