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NBA Playoffs: 76ers hold on, end Chicago’s season

May 10, 2012, 10:30 PM EDT

Boozer Attempt

Normally, when an 8-seed upsets a 1-seed, like the Golden State Warriors did in 2007 or the Memphis Grizzlies did last year, NBA fans are generally thrilled for an underdog team that beat the odds and prevailed.

This time, however, it’s hard to feel anything but a sense of melancholy for the Chicago Bulls, who did everything right all season long only to see it all go catastrophically awry when Derrick Rose made that ill-fated jump stop in Game 1.

The 76ers deserve a lot of credit for taking care of business and beating the Bulls, particularly in a tightly-contested 79-78 Game 6. Especially since Chicago played well without Rose in the lineup all year. But it’s hard not to put an asterisk on this series when the Bulls were without their best offensive player for the final five games of the series and the leader of their defense for the final two.

With the win the Sixers will face the Celtics in the next round in a series that will begin on Saturday.

The Bulls gave the 76ers everything they could handle in game 6, holding them to just 79 points on sub-40% shooting from the field, but without Rose and Noah they simply couldn’t muster enough offense to bring the series back to Chicago for a Game 7. Carlos Boozer will be a likely scapegoat for the Bulls after this game, as he was only able to score 3 points on 1-11 shooting in a game where the Bulls needed him to provide some offense. Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton were able to provide some offense for the Bulls, but with Boozer melting down and C.J. Watson, Rose’s backup, only managing 6 points on 2-11 shooting, the Bulls simply didn’t have enough scoring to get past the 76ers’ tough defense.

To the Bulls’ credit, they hung tough after falling behind early, and actually had a great chance to win the game late. With a 1-point lead and the ball, Omer Asik went to the line with a chance to put the Bulls up 3 points with 7 seconds remaining. Unfortunately for Chicago, Asik, a 45.6% free throw shooter in the regular season, came up empty at the line, and 5 seconds later Andre Iguodala was able to hit two free throws and end the Bulls’ fantastic season before they had a chance to make a true playoff run.

The big question facing the Bulls coming out of this series is whether they will be willing to stand pat and chalk their disappointing playoff run up to the Rose and Noah injuries or make a big move, one that would likely involve Carlos Boozer. Boozer is a great rebounder and can fill it up in the regular season, but great defenses have given him trouble in the playoffs: he shot 42.2% in this series,  40.7% in last year’s series against the Heat, and 44.6% against the Lakers in the 2010 playoffs. The Bulls have a great young core, unmatched depth, and one of the best coaches in the league, but it may be time to ask if they can win a championship with Carlos Boozer playing a major role against top-level defenses in a 7-game series.

As for the 76ers, they showed why they shouldn’t be overlooked in this series — they play tough defense, they have a lot of depth, and they come to play for the full 48 minutes. They’ll certainly be the underdogs when they play the Celtics or the Hawks, but they shouldn’t be counted out either.

For now, they should celebrate their 1st-round victory, even though most NBA fans are probably feeling more sympathy for the Bulls than excitement for the 76ers right about now.

  1. phillynac - May 10, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Congrats to the Sixers and much respect to the Bulls who never gave up when they had every reason to do so

    • soflasfinest - May 10, 2012 at 10:50 PM

      Well said. It sucks, but injuries are part of the game.

    • Chris Fiorentino - May 10, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      I couldn’t echo this sentiment any more. Bulls showed a lot of guts and could have folded their tents but they hung tough and probably should have forced a game 7.

      Gibson OWNED Thad. Thad is my favorite player on the team, but there are some guys he simply can not handle. His game is giving it 100% and when he goes against someone else who is also giving 100% he struggles big time. He had a key bucket late, but otherwise, he was owned on both ends of the floor on the boards. No O Boards until 8 minutes left in the game? Doug got lucky this game…he should have had Allen in there earlier when the Bulls erased a 12 point deficit. Allen matched up real well with Gibson. Young matched up well with Boozer, who was an absolute dog tonight.

  2. tfoz5150 - May 10, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Much love Philly!! Congrats to the Bulls on a tough series.

  3. ranoversquarells - May 10, 2012 at 10:45 PM


  4. Justin - May 10, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    My comment appears to be blocked. Truth hurts I guess.

  5. bowens3181 - May 10, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Are all the writers at PBT really THIS stupid!? This is the FOURTH different article with the exact same mistake in it: the Grizzlies were an 8 seed last year, and they beat the 1 seed Spurs. How do you guys keep forgetting that. It’s almost pathetic that this is a professionally run website being run by a media giant like NBC because all of the writers are absolute jokes.

    • Chris Fiorentino - May 10, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      I am not one to immediately rip the writers…they have a tough job…but damn, it’s hard not to agree with this comment 100%. Fellas…THE GRIZZLIES BEAT THE SPURS A YEAR AGO AS AN 8 SEED AGAINST A 1 SEED!!!!!!! The good news is that now that this series is finally over, there (probably) won’t be a chance for them to make this mistake a FIFTH time.

    • John Krolik - May 11, 2012 at 12:16 AM

      TOTAL goof on my part. I agree with you 100%, it was an unacceptable mistake for me to make. The post has been fixed, I sincerely thank you for pointing out my error. I’m not perfect, but I owe it to the readers of this site and my employers to be better than that.

      • chicitybulls - May 11, 2012 at 12:30 AM

        Kudos to you John. At least you’re man enough to come on and admit your mistake and acknowledge the readers/posters of this site. That’s all most of us ask. Unlike one of your collegues (Kurt I’m talking to you). The guy is often incorrect and constantly misspells words. I mean if there’s no spell checker then at least go to webster’s website. Jeez. Good to you. Need more like you John.

      • 00maltliquor - May 11, 2012 at 1:06 AM

        Yeah, everything chicitybulls said. I point out Kurt’s misshaps as being unprofessional and pretty much everything else you said and all I got back in return was Kurt Helin DELETING my post because I called it out. Major, major props John. I got mad respect for you as a journalist, and now even more so.

      • bowens3181 - May 11, 2012 at 1:45 AM

        Wow now I feel like a douche for being so harsh in my comment. Way to man up and admit your mistake and fix it. Sorry my initial comment was so disrespectful, it’s just that in posts by a certain other writer (COUGH COUGH Kurt) there are repeatedly a ton of mistakes that are never fixed, even though everyone in the comment section is constantly yelling about the mistakes. It is good to finally see some of the mistakes fixed.

        Again, sorry for being a d-bag, and kudos for owning up to the mistake and fixing it.

  6. iowahbr - May 10, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    If the last 5 minutes of that game don’t tell you what’s wrong with the current Bulls team then you need to switch to watching baseball. Boozer on the bench, Hamilton and Deng lost somewhere, and the silliest stall ball seen in a deciding play-off game. If you think the return of a perfect D. Rose brings them to more than round 2 next year you are seeing something I’m missing. The Bulls need a new format or they are going to wear out Mr. Rose without ever making even the ECFs.

    • southbeachtalent - May 11, 2012 at 6:32 AM

      Umm except they made the ECF last year.

      • iowahbr - May 11, 2012 at 7:26 AM

        And we all remember how that 5 game series went.

    • hwatt - May 11, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      boozer scored three points in that game- the biggest game of the year?!?! Why is he on the team? After that epic pass to the photographers at the end of Sunday’s game! Wow, what an epic postseason meltdown.

  7. newgene1187 - May 10, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Congrats to Philly….what a short lived celebration this will be

    • tfoz5150 - May 11, 2012 at 9:57 PM

      Hater in the house

  8. zblott - May 10, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Bulls’ average margin of victory this series with Rose: -12
    Bulls’ average margin of victory this series without Rose: -4

  9. bleedgreen4life - May 10, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Sixers beat Boston 2 out 3 and swept Atlanta. I get you dont like the fact that Philly beat an injured Bulls team but get over it. Sixers earned their victories.

    • tfoz5150 - May 11, 2012 at 12:04 AM


  10. marlin1894 - May 11, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    Good job to Philly. I was really looking forward to Heat vs (a healthy) Bulls in the ECF. Oh well?

  11. 00maltliquor - May 11, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit if the Philadelphia 76ers make it to the ECF.

  12. asublimeday - May 11, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    Congrats on your lower draft pick when Boston mops the floor with you, Filthadelphia.

    • southbeachtalent - May 11, 2012 at 6:31 AM

      Classy as usual.

    • tfoz5150 - May 11, 2012 at 10:01 PM

      Nice shot. Like a Dr. J blow to sissy boy Birds face!

  13. phillyphan08 - May 11, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    Bring it, it’s gonna be oldies nite in Boston Saturday, so ur celtics better bring their oxygen tanks:) zoom, zoom,zoom….. G37 vv012ked sc12u13…….

  14. hushbrother - May 11, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    Nothing could ever make me feel bad for the Chicago Bulls after having them forced down my throat for an entire decade, an era in which I really started to not enjoy NBA basketball anymore.

  15. mungman69 - May 11, 2012 at 6:34 AM

    Sorry Bulls, Sixers move on

  16. jagsfan11 - May 11, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    Im a Bulls fan. And i would like to start off by saying the 76ers played good. But if Derrick Rose were here, it wouldve been completely different. You guys saw the first game. Anyways congratulations to the 76ers

    • tfoz5150 - May 11, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      Good try. I hope that makes you sleep better at night.

  17. mungman69 - May 11, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    If Rose comes back 100% next year and the Bulls can do something with Boozer they have enough to win it all. They are deep and the could have quit in this series but they showed a lot of talent and heart but missing two stars they didn’t have enough. Good luck to the Bulls next year.
    Let’s see if the Sixers have enough to beat Boston.

  18. blueintown - May 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Can we stop commending the Bulls on their ‘heart’? This is professional basketball. You either win, or you lose. They lost. My hope is that this is the eye-opener that Garpax needs to reconcile the fact that depth doesn’t mean anything in the playoffs (as if last years Eastern Conference Finals wasn’t enough proof).

  19. glink123 - May 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Amnesty Boozer, ASAP. I honestly don’t care if that’s the only move they make, as long as he’s gone. There’s NO way a max-contract player in the NBA should be your team’s 4th best player. For the Bulls, their best players in order are Rose, Deng, Noah, then Boozer. He MUST go.

  20. iowahbr - May 11, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Well I guess we can take that old Thibs comment about learning from our losses to heart. What he needs to do is figure out how to win 60 games next year with Rose at 10 points per game or less or he will never get or develop that 2nd “go to on his own” scorer. Plus all those kamikaze drives to the basket could end Rose’s career prematurely.

    If Rose has the ball in his hands on offense 70% of the time it will always be the D. Rose show and we will get a Chicago version of the LeBron Cleveland Cavaliers. (a great number of wins and nothing post-season of importance to show for same)

    The Bulls did show heart in this series but heart and a dime won’t buy a cup of coffee at Mickey D’s anymore, let alone an NBA championship

  21. dadawg77 - May 11, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Bulls sweep the series with Rose as CJ and Boozer had a horrible series. Also might have won last night if Noah was healthy.

    Fact is all NBA teams are built around stars. If Lebron or Wade go down in game one the Heat will lose to the Pacers. The Bulls are built on tough D with enough scoring. With Rose they would have score enough to get to at least the ECF. So the Bulls model isnt broken but could use a better second option.

    • tfoz5150 - May 11, 2012 at 10:05 PM

      Sweep. yeah right. Did you check head to head record the last two years. Better luck next year

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