Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Ricky Rubio is confident Timberwolves not looking to trade him

    Sep 3, 2015, 5:09 PM EDT

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    The trade speculation around him is not based in reality.

  2. Report: Kings signing Eric Moreland

    Sep 3, 2015, 4:14 PM EDT

    Moreland was reportedly considering Pistons and Lakers

  3. Report: J.R. Smith’s 2015-16 salary becomes fully guaranteed Monday

    Sep 3, 2015, 2:21 PM EDT

    LeBron James, Shaun Livingston, Harrison Barnes AP

    Cavaliers craft unusual contract to give Smith a partial guarantee next season

  4. Doc Rivers says Paul Pierce chose Clippers over Celtics this summer

    Sep 3, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce reacts to a call by the officials in Boston Reuters

    He will be remembered as a Celtic, but Los Angeles is his hometown.

  5. It’s official: J.R. Smith re-signs with Cavaliers

    Sep 2, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    J.R. Smith J.R. Smith

    He’s making $1.5 million less than if he opted in this season, but he does have another year.

  6. Brad Stevens hints he will explore taller, more traditional lineups

    Sep 2, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Brad Stevens AP

    With the additions to the Celtics’ roster, this is the smart play.

  7. Report: Free agent Glen Davis to have ankle surgery, out 2-3 months

    Sep 2, 2015, 8:31 PM EDT

    Glen Davis Glen Davis

    He could be back on the court around Thanksgiving, if a team picks him up.

  8. Dwight Howard tried to take loaded gun through airport security, will not face charges

    Sep 2, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT

    Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five Getty Images

    Don’t bring a loaded Glock to an airport, people. It’s pretty much common sense.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2546)
  2. K. Irving (2227)
  3. A. Davis (1916)
  4. K. Bryant (1607)
  5. L. James (1605)
  1. K. Durant (1478)
  2. A. Aminu (1456)
  3. M. Leonard (1425)
  4. T. Thompson (1384)
  5. A. Jefferson (1255)