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Deng, defense allow Bulls to defeat 76ers, keep season alive

May 9, 2012, 12:47 AM EDT

Chicago Bulls' Deng goes to the basket against the Miami Heat during second half of their NBA basketball game in Chicago Reuters

Derrick Rose is out for the rest of the playoffs. Joakim Noah, who was a game-time decision, ended up not playing a minute. And it didn’t matter from the Chicago Bulls, who staved off elimination in Game 5 of their series with the Philadelphia 76ers thanks to a great performance from Luol Deng and some absolutely suffocating defense.

The Bulls won Game 5 by doing what got them the best record in the Eastern Conference — playing some absolutely ridiculous defense. As good as Joakim Noah is defensively, the Bulls are one of the deepest defensive teams the league has ever seen, and Omer Asik and Taj Gibson did a great job filling in for Noah on the defensive end of the floor. And while nobody is even thinking that the Bulls don’t miss Derrick Rose desperately, C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer are two of the best backcourt defensive players in the league.

On Tuesday, the Bulls’ defense played up to its full potential, and the results for Philadelphia were brutal. The team shot 32% from the floor, made 2 of its 11 3-point tries, and had a 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Andre Iguodala shot 4-19 from the floor, Jrue Holliday shot 5-17, and Elton Brand had a grand total of 5 points. To put things bluntly, the 76ers couldn’t find the basket with a map against Tom Thibodeau’s defense.

The Bulls didn’t light the scoreboard on fire without Rose and Noah, but Luol Deng’s great performance (he scored 24 points on 10-19 shooting from the field and 4-5 shooting from beyond the 3-point line) and a solid 19-point game from Carlos Boozer was more than enough for the Bulls on a night where their defense played such lights-out basketball.

The Bulls still have a long road ahead of them if they want to make it out of the first round, let alone any further, but they showed how they just might be able to pull it off on Tuesday night. If the Bulls can keep using their unrivaled combination of defense and depth this effectively, their season just might not be over quite yet.

  1. liljere24 - May 9, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    Game 5’s are apparently the hardest to close out this year

  2. asublimeday - May 9, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    That fart sound you hear is Philly fans taking a deep breath to somehow talk more trash.

    • b7p19 - May 9, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      Trust me, most Sixers fans know damn well that they can lose this series. As far as trash talking, the fans in Chicago have been doing much more of it than Philly. As well as complaining about the refs all series. Also bitterly reminding everyone that they have injuries. Been a lot of crying coming out of the windy city about a series they should have already won….despite the injuries.

      • lmoneyfresh - May 9, 2012 at 11:55 AM

        So bulls fans reminding philly fans that the ONLY reason they are winning this series so far is due to injuries is whining? Another out of touch philly fan..

      • b7p19 - May 9, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        Bulls fans bringing it up every single time. Yes. I’m aware that Rose is out. I’m aware the Sixers are bad. I’m aware the Bulls are better (even without Rose and Noah). It’s whining. Whether its about the calls, the injuries, whatever. There is always an excuse. The Bulls should be winning this series. Other than game two, the Sixers have been pretty bad.

  3. xxakshunxx - May 9, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    @sublime if you’re gonna make a joke about something at least make it funny or clever

    • 91devinhester23 - May 9, 2012 at 2:51 AM

      that looked pretty clever to me, guy

  4. dl3mk3 - May 9, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    Final score would be nice

  5. mungman69 - May 9, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    Yea, now they go back to Philly and you know what that means.

    • gmsingh - May 9, 2012 at 9:51 AM

      The winning team will get about 55 points?

  6. mungman69 - May 9, 2012 at 6:21 AM

    If Philly can’t beat Chicago now then the Sixers shouldn’t have been in the playoffs to begin with.

    • b7p19 - May 9, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Of course they shouldn’t have been in the playoffs. They can’t score. Nobody is saying anything that Sixers fans don’t know. Let me ask you one thing though. Why doesn’t anyone knock the Pacers for getting to play the Magic without Howard?

  7. florida727 - May 9, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    Unfortunately, I’m doubtful that the Bulls defense can repeat this performance in Philly. You can always be more physical defensively at home because the refs allow it. If your defense is predicated on physicality, which the Bulls clearly is, some of those physical plays will result in fouls when you’re the road team.

    They won by only 8, yet Philly had a 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, shot 32% from the floor, and just 18% from three. Can’t count on them doing that again, especially at home.

    I’m a Bulls fan, have been forever, but without Rose and with Noah less than 100%, I’m thinking this just isn’t going to be their year. Just hoping they get healthy for next year, and Rose comes back to 100%.

  8. 700levelvet - May 9, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    As a Sixers fan, i know with Rose and Noah, they had no shot at winning this series,and likely swept, but after they went down, i thought, what the hell, if they win the series, get a few more games to play, and playoff experience….But now, I want them to lose 3 straight to a team with the leagues MVP and another starter out to injuries…….I want them to realize, that Andre Iguodala is the most overpaid, least clutch, no balls player in NBA history…….I simply can’t watch him throw up brick after brick, watch his free throw % decline year after year. Maybe if they lose, they will get rid of his sorry arse……How the HELL did he make an all-star team?…..14 million dollars a year……What a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • pudgalvin - May 9, 2012 at 8:56 AM

      If he’s the Luol Deng of your team, playing with an elite scorer, you’re in good shape. If he’s your teams centerpiece at 14 million a year, your ceiling is probably the second round of the playoffs.

  9. comeonnowguys - May 9, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    The person in charge of the Bulls Imaginary Department of Not Rolling Ankles should be fired.

    2 starters gone, 1 playing with one hand, and now the glue guy off the bench had to leave the part of the game? Yikes.

    • b7p19 - May 9, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      The Bulls have suffered injuries? What? Why haven’t I heard of this yet?

      • philtration - May 9, 2012 at 12:22 PM

        You sound like the typical Philadelphia fan.
        Bitter and always moaning because of your raging inferiority complex.

        You guys are as bad as Boston fans only they actually win something now and then.

      • b7p19 - May 9, 2012 at 4:04 PM

        Maybe, but did you hear about all the bad luck the Bulls have gotten this post season?

    • comeonnowguys - May 9, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      Actually, Gibson leaving the game and coming back gimpy was not mentioned in this article.

      • gmsingh - May 10, 2012 at 9:45 AM

        It sure as hell should have been–without Taj in that game the Bulls wouldn’t have had a chance at winning.

  10. mungman69 - May 9, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    The Sixers will win game six, no excuses.

  11. phillynac - May 9, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Who cares who wins? Both teams are terrible. Can Boston get a bye to the conference finals to spare us from watching this sorry excuse for basketball? And this is coming from a Sixers season ticket holder.

    • gmsingh - May 10, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      If you can’t respect the two best defensive teams in the League perhaps you should find another sport to watch.

  12. phillynac - May 9, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    If I have to watch Noah or Gibson hit an open 8 foot jumper an then run down the court with their arms up like they just saved the world, I may just puke.

    • b7p19 - May 9, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      I was right there with you until I realized I would probably run around my living room with my arms up if ANYONE would have hit an open shot for the Sixers last night.

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