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The Philadelphia 76ers begin the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.
Andre Iguodala has been one of the most criticized Philadelphia athletes in recent memory. The fact that he's paid handsomely, doesn't score like an All-Star and has, for lack of a better word, an ugly shot has landed him on many Sixers fans' naughty list. His propensity to miss "clutch" free throws wasn't helping, nor was his lack of a Playoff win. Last night may have forever altered the way Iguodala is remembered in Philadelphia sports history.
From Michael Levin, at Liberty Ballers:
At no point in his career has Andre been celebrated as much as he is right now. Beating a conference powerhouse at home is huge. Doing it by sinking the enigmatic free throws with the game on the line to prove that he too has ice in his veins is another thing entirely. This was a career-defining moment here.
When Andre Iguodala stepped to the free throw line with 2.2 seconds remaining – Sixers down one – with a chance to tie or win the game and/or series, Sixers fans could hardly watch. The once very good free throw shooter has seen his percentage inexplicably plummet in the past few years. In the fourth quarter, and in close games, he was abysmal.
Iguodala had a problem at the line. A so-so free throw shooter on the best of nights, he averaged only 62 percent for the season. In close games, though -- an atrocity. NBA.com tells us that in the final three minutes of games within five points, this season Iguodala had hit two free throws. Total. All season. Out of nine tries. That's 22 percent.
Iguodala made both and the Sixers advanced to the second round for the first time since 2003.
Making the game winning free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to vault the Sixers past the Bulls in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, Andre Iguodala momentarily silenced his critics.
The Philadelphia 76ers advanced to the second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs with a thrilling 79-78 win in Game 6 over the Chicago Bulls over night. The Sixers became just the fifth No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 in the history of the league, advancing past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003.
The largest lead of the fourth quarter was just five points held by Chicago on a Omer Asik free throw at the 7:31 mark. The Sixers fought back to take a one-point lead, 73-72 on a Lou Williams 3-pointer with four minutes to play. Chicago fought back, and seemed poised to secure a series tying win taking a 78-75 lead off an Asik dunk with 25 second left.
Thaddeus Young made a 4-footer to put the Sixers within one and then Spencer Hawes immediately fouled Asik with seven seconds to go. Asik fortuitously missed both free throws, and Andre Iguodala was fouled on the rebound sending him to the line with a chance to win the game. Iguoadala shot less than 50 percent from the free throw line in the fourth quarter this season, but calmly sank both of his shots to give the Sixers a 79-78 lead.
Iguodala blocked C.J. Watson's desperation attempt as time expired to clinch the game and the series in front of the home crowd. For the game, Iguodala led all players with 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting, adding seven assists. Spencer Hawes chipped in 10 rebounds to go with eight points.
The Bulls dominated on the glass, hauling in 56 rebounds to 33 for the Sixers. Philadelphia was much sharper from long range, however, going 6-for-16 from beyond the arc compared to 2-for-13 for Chicago. Iguodala, Williams and Jrue Holiday had a pair of treys, each. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 19 points and 17 rebounds.
The Philadelphia 76ers are two quarters away from advancing to the second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs over the Chicago Bulls. At halftime, they lead 48-40 in Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center thanks to some good defense and sharp shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Sixers are shooting 50 percent from the floor, and are 4-for-6 from long range so far. Jrue Holiday leads the way with two treys already, on his way to a game-high 12 points. Lou Williams has also shot well off the bench, going 3-for-6 from the floor, and 1-for-2 from distance for 11 points in 12 minutes.
The Bulls, on the other hand, are shooting just 40.5 percent from the floor. They have been able to stay relatively close through superior rebounding. The hold a 24-16 advantage for the game, with 10 boards coming from Carlos Boozer alone. Luol Deng added 10 points and six boards in the half.
The Philadelphia 76ers have their second chance to oust the Chicago Bulls and advance to the second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center in Game 6 Thursday night. But they might have to deal with one of Chicago's fallen stars.
Joakim Noah is a game-time decision for the Bulls as they look to become the ninth team in NBA Playoffs history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series. Noah badly sprained his left ankle during Game 3.
The Bulls' big man said Tuesday he's "feeling better" and hopes to play in Game 6 during an interview posted on the team's website, the only interview he has given since the injury. He did not speak to the media following the team's shootaround Thursday morning.
Taj Gibson is expected to play for the Bulls.
In taking a 3-1 series lead over top-seeded Chicago, the Philadelphia 76ers afforded themselves three opportunities to unseat the Bulls in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
And after striking out on chance one, Philly will take to the court again on Thursday night with the hopes of ending the series on their home court.
It will take a better offensive effort than during game five, as the 76ers were held to just 69 points 32.1 percent shooting, and no Sixer connected on more than five field goal attempts.
Returning home is a positive for Philly, as they toppled Chicago in both games three and four, each of which were played at the Wells Fargo Center.
A win for Philadelphia would set up a second-round matchup against either Boston or Atlanta, who will play a game six of their own on Thursday night.
But before the Sixers can look ahead, they know they have a tall enough task of their own to square away first.
Game Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV Coverage: CSN Philly, NBA TV
Radio Coverage: 97.5 The Fanatic
"I'm feeling better. I'm just trying to get out there for the next game. I feel like we played really hard tonight, it was a great win, guys are giving everything they've got. You know, let's bring it back to Chicago for Game 7," Noah said during an interview posted on the team's official website.
Asked whether it's difficult to watch his teammates play without him, Noah added, "It's hard. This is what we live for, to play in games like this. So not to be out there with your teammates is hard, but we won and we live to fight another day. It's going to be a big Game 6, and I'm hoping I'll be able to play."
The Philadelphia 76ers had a chance to close out the Chicago Bulls Tuesday night in Game 5, but kicked away the chance with an offensive effort that could have been used as a scarecrow to strike fear into approaching birds.
The 76ers mustered just 26 first-half points and shot just 32.1 percent in their 77-69 road loss. They could have executed better, sure, but Jordan Sams of the SB Nation blog Liberty Ballers provided a reminder to lessen the pain of all those bricks:
Chicago's defense is good. How good? They finished the season first in John Hollinger's defensive efficiency rating and second in Basketball Reference's defensive ratings. As a matter of fact, their defense finished in the top 20 of all-time in defensive efficiency during the shot clock era.
I'm fully aware that the Bulls' historically good ratings in the various defensive metrics are slightly skewed because of the lockout - 9 of the top 20 defensive efficiency ratings since 1979 came during either this season or the '98 lockout - but they're still a great defense, coached by arguably the best defensive coach in the league.
Per Basketball Value, they allowed an average of 97.6 points per 100 possessions this season - good for the lowest total in the league. Now, one might say 'yeah, but they had Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah during the regular season'. Well, it turns out Rose and Noah may not be as important to the Bulls' defense as you'd think.
Philly will have perhaps its best chance to do so when it comes back to the Wells Fargo Center for Game Six. However, it was a disappointing loss Tuesday night considering the Sixers held the Bulls to just 77 points.
Philly head coach Doug Collins knows his team just needs to refocus all of its energy on the task remaining at hand, according to ESPN.com.
"You can't let one game all of a sudden get you spinning in the wrong direction," Collins said. "We didn't expect to beat the Bulls four straight. This is a damn good team."
Even without Derrick Rose, Chicago has the talent to win this series if the 76ers don't come out very charged up for Thursday's affair.
The Chicago Bulls beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 77-69, on Tuesday night to force a Game 6 in the first round Eastern Conference series. The Sixers will have another shot to advance to second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs when both teams head to Philadelphia on Thursday.
Both team struggled from the floor, though Philadelphia more so. Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala went 5-for-17 and 4-for-19 shooting for 16 and 11 points, respectively, as the Sixers shot 32.1 percent for the game as a team. The Bulls were sharper at a 41.5 percent clip, but didn't earn nearly as many scoring opportunities from the free throw line. Philadelphia went 17-for-24 from the stripe compared to 4-for-11 for Chicago.
Carlos Boozer led the way for the Bulls, scoring 19 and hauling in 12 rebounds. Luol Deng also had a nice night with 24 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Taj Gibson was quiet, scoring eight points in 24 minutes on the court, but gave fans a scare when he rolled his ankle midway through the fourth quarter.
Gibson was able to return to the game, but Bulls fans were understandably worried considering their recent string of bad luck on the health front.
The Bulls may be down 3-1 in the series without their two best players and the Sixers may be sitting pretty, but neither of these teams are taking this game 5 lightly. Exhibit A, this loose ball right in front of the Chicago bench. Andre Iguodala dives for it, then Taj Gibson and Elton Brand go to war over it.
It may be tough to see in this video, but the two guys start throwing the elbows almost as soon as they hit the floor.
The Bulls will take a 35-26 lead into halftime. Luol Deng leads Chicago with 11, while Lavoy Allen has 6 for the Sixers. This has been the most physical game of the series, which certainly plays into the Bulls hands. Being down their top two guys, their clearest path to winning is to junk the game up and try to outwork the Sixers. So far, it's working.
The Sixers are shooting 29%, while the Bulls have managed just 39%.
The Philadelphia 76ers are one victory away from pulling off a major series upset and the accomplishment could be completed Tuesday, when the No. 8-seeded Sixers travel to top-seeded Chicago Bulls (9:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV). The Bulls, the Eastern Conference regular-season champions, face elimination after Sunday featured them losing Game 4, 89-82, and falling behind in the best-of-seven playoff series 1-3.
The Bulls are facing an up-hill battle, as they're playing without their best player, point guard Derrick Rose, who's out for the remainder of the season with a ACL tear, and center Joakim Noah, who will be out for the second straight game with a sprained ankle.
The Sixers have taken advantage of the new-found luck, as they earned three straight victories since Rose went down in Game 1. Those results could be contributed to Chicago's lack of scoring without Rose, as it scored 103 points in Game 1 and has averaged just 82.7 in their last three games.
Center Spencer Hawes is coming off a 22-points performance in Game 4, which featured 76ers' forward Jrue Holiday scoring 16 of his 20 points in the second half. Holiday is the Sixers leading scorer in the series, while Hawes is coming off back-to-back 20 points games.
To see if the 76ers can advance onto the Eastern Conference semifinals, here's the game's viewing information:
Location: United Center, Chicago, Il.
Game Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TNT
Series: Sixers leads best-of-seven series 3-1.
The Philadelphia 76ers got a big win in Game 4 of their NBA Playoff series with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday and now hold a 3-1 advantage in the series. Sixers center Spencer Hawes dominated with 22 points and eight rebounds on 9-11 shooting in the 89-82 victory. It was the second straight game with 20+ points for Hawes.
Sixers head coach Doug Collins felt that Hawes rushed things too much right when he came back from injury but has settled in. Hawes averaged 9.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in his 37 regular season games.
Hawes feels that he is back to the shape he was in before the injury occurred. He credited his teammates for getting him easy looks at the basket in the last two games. He's shooting 16-26 in the last two playoff games.
Philadelphia's Game 4 win was needed, not just to build a little cushion, but to continue squishing the Bulls' collective face firmly against the concrete ground.
The Sixers did not win the series Sunday, not yet at least, but they drove another stake into Chicago's confidence while boosting their own self-belief.
"Absolutely accurate. Absolutely accurate," said veteran Elton Brand, who in his reconstructed career has turned into Dennis Rodman. "If we lost today, it would affect our mentality. Our organization. Our franchise. Our talent level. Just all we're doing here.
"We still have to fight to win this series. But this game, at home, to really take the driver's seat - we had to have this. For the growth of the young guys."
The Sixers on the other hand are now up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals after winning 89-92 on Sunday and are looking to close out Chicago at the United Center in Game Five.
Michael Levin of Liberty Ballers sums it up:
The truth is, the Bulls are not the same team without Noah in the lineup. As much as I despise him, he's a terror on the glass and far more athletic than his stupid face lets on.isn't nearly as effective on either end, and is a bit light in the cakes at this point in his career. The absence of Noah allows Doug to play the softer Spencer more minutes (36 this game) at the expense of the more bangable , who despite starting Game One, only played 3 minutes today. Hawes can more easily get his shot without seeming as much of a liability on defense or on the glass.
Philly is closing in on the semifinals, a place it hasn't been since the days of Allen Iverson.
Spencer Hawes scored a team-high 22 points and Jrue Holiday scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half to help the Philadelphia 76ers earn a 89-82 victory over the Chicago Bulls in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference playoff series. The 76ers now own a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, which now heads back to Chicago for Game 5 on Tuesday (9:30 p.m on NBA TV).
Hawes tallied 17 of his 22 in the first half to help the Sixers earn a 44-42 halftime lead, but it was Holiday who carried Philly to the critical victory which puts the top-seeded Bulls on the brink of elimination.
Ahead just 74-73 with 4:43 to play in the fourth quarter, Holiday nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to push the margin to 80-73 with 3:34 remaining.
From there, Chicago was able to pull within two points, 80-78, but the Sixers made seven of their last eight free throws down to stretch to cement the victory. Before that free-throw shooting display, Philly was just 65-percent (15 of 23) from the charity stripe.
Bulls center Carlos Boozer scored a game-high 23 points and collected 11 rebounds, however, he lost the ball on a critical late-game possession that could have helped Chicago cut the Sixers' margin to two points with less than a minute to go. Overall, Boozer had five turnovers.
The back-and-forth battle between the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls has continued and will move into the fourth quarter with the Sixers narrowly head of the Bulls 64-63. Spencer Hawes continues to be Philly's leading scorer with 20 points, but Jrue Holiday (10 points) and Lou Williams (seven points) have helped the 76ers take the one-point lead into the final 12 minutes.
Bulls center Carlos Boozer has a team-high 18 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls, who have kept it close despite not having star point guard Derrick Rose and center Joakim Noah, who is out with an ankle injury.
Overall, the 76ers have shot 39-percent from the floor, while the Bulls are at 41-percent.
The Bulls are trying to avoid going down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
The Philadelphia 76ers have taken a 44-42 lead into halftime of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference playoff showdown with the visiting Chicago Bulls. And they wouldn't have been able to do it without the play of Spencer Hawes, who has already tallied 17 points and collected six rebounds.
Hawes tallied nine of his 17 in the second quarter, and nailed this buzzer-beating 3-point that gave the Sixers a two-point lead over the victory-hungry Bulls.
Also in the first half, Hawes showed off some his nifty passing skills.
Enter Sunday's contest, Hawes was averaging just nine points and five rebounds per game. Seems like he's playing the right game at the right time.
Meanwhile, this happened too in the first half.
Spencer Hawes scoring a team-high 17 points, including a 3-pointer in the closing second of the first half, to help the Philadelphia 76ers take a 44-42 halftime advantage over the Chicago Bulls of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference playoff game at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers are trying to take a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series.
Elton Brand has added seven points but a team-high seven rebounds for Philly, which led 24-15 after the first quarter, however, allowed Bulls' guard Taj Gibson to get hot (12 points off the bench) in the second quarter and help Chicago get back into the game. Carlos Boozer has chipped in to tally 10 points and collect five rebounds.
Overall, the Sixers (37-percent) are being out-shot by the Bulls (44-percent), but have forced Chicago to turn the ball over eight times.
Spencer Hawes has transitioned his solid play of Game 3 into Sunday's Game 4, as he's already tallied a team-high eight first-quarter points to help the Philadelphia 76ers earn a 24-15 lead over the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are trying to avoid going down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Andre Iguodala has scored six points, collected two rebounds and added a few highlight dunks for the Sixers, who shot 41-percent from the field.
Meanwhile, the Bulls are paced by Luol Deng's six points and got a bit of a injury scare from the forward, who did eventually returned to the floor after banging his wrist. The Bulls are already without star point guard Derrick Rose and center Joakim Noah, who's out with an ankle injury he suffered in Game 3.
After seeing Chicago Bulls forward Joakim Noah on the sidelines of Game 3 using crutches, it was pretty much assumed the Bulls' forward wasn't going to be able to go in Sunday's critical Game 4 against host Philadelphia 76ers. And a hour before the contest (1 p.m. ET on ABC), Chicago, which trails in the best-of-seven series, 1-2, made it official that Noah will not be playing.
The loss of Noah is the second major hit to the top-seeded Bulls, who also lost star point guard Derrick Rose for the rest of the season because of a ACL tear he suffered in Game 1. So far, the Sixers have taken advantage of their now new-found luck, as they've won two straight victories after a disappointing Game 1 loss.
Doug Collins is, often times, an over-bearing head coach with a lot of passion for the game, and Evan Turner is an emotional player who comes off as sensitive at times. It's no surprise the two seemingly clashed throughout the season. Turner was asked about his relationship with Collins after Friday's Playoff win:
"I don't think it was as bad as people thought," he said. "It's not like we were beating each other up or not talking to each other."
Henry Abbott from ESPN's TrueHoop has a nice piece on Turner and Collins, which includes this quote:
"The last two plays, he ran the play for me," said Turner. "As a player, that's the big thing, that you can show me you have confidence in me. Thankfully he did that. ... It was pretty cool. He had confidence in me to give me the ball in crucial parts of the game."
Whatever's going on with Turner and Collins during these NBA Playoffs, both parties, as well as Sixers fans have to hope it continues, for Evan Turner's sake.
Thibodeau confirms no fracture for Noah. Bad ankle sprain. Doubtful for series. #Bulls
Noah turned his ankle on a fast break, remained in the game to shoot free throws, went back to the locker room, then returned again to hit a mid-range jumper. Noah was in visibly pain as he ran up and down the floor and was eventually removed from the game.
Without Rose and Noah, I think the Sixers should be the favorites to win their series. They already own a 2-1 lead and home court advantage.
The Philadelphia 76ers stumbled near the end of the regular season, lost their season-long hold on the Atlantic Division and limped into a first-round matchup against the top-seeded Chicago Bulls. The 76ers were given little chance in the series, but here they are, three games and one Derrick Rose injury later, at home for Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead.
Yes, it helps that Rose tore his ACL, and Joakim Noah's turned ankle -- if it turns out to be as bad as it looks -- would also aid Philadelphia's cause. But the Sixers are thriving as Chicago's foundation collapses, and SB Nation's Liberty Ballers sees plenty of reason to cheer Philadelphia's two consecutive wins.
The excitement goes beyond wins and losses - it's how they're winning and, more importantly, who they're winning with.
Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner - the 21 and 23 year-old backcourt mates - were supposed to be the foundation of the Sixers franchise for years to come - a core to build around. But for a multitude of reasons - inconsistent playing time, undefined roles, questionable coaching - both players failed to evolve as overall players during the 2011-12 season, which had many questioning the future of both guards.
How quickly things can change.
For the second consecutive post-season both players have taken their games to another level, and they're beginning to show what they're capable of doing as this team's starting backcourt.
By now it seems as if the Philadelphia 76ers are getting all the breaks in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Chicago Bulls. And to their credit, they are making the most of it, as they now earn a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series after a 79-74 Game 3 victory.
The 76ers, paced by Spencer Hawes 21 points, used a amazing 18-2 run, which featured the Bulls going scoreless for nine minutes of the fourth quarter, to come-from-behind and knock off top-seeded Chicago for the second straight game.
Philadelphia trailed by 14 points with about 10 minutes to play, and then rallied after Bulls' forward Joakim Noah rolled his ankle (GIF below) and never returned.
From there, the Sixers put together an epic rally that was capped by two free throws and a jumper by Hawes, who gave Philly a 72-71 lead with 2:11 to go in the fourth quarter.
The 76ers pushed its lead to 75-71 with three more free throws, but had its margin trimmed to 75-74 after a 3-pointer by John Lucas with 43.8 seconds to go.
The victory was cemented when Evan Turner (16 points and nine rebounds) nailed two free throws to push the lead back to five points and the Philly defense forced a bad shot on the Bulls' final possession.
Lou Williams has come off the bench to score a team-high 10 points to help the Atlanta Hawks earn a 40-39 halftime advantage over the Chicago Bulls in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal contest at the Wells Fargo Center. The winner of the game take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Spencer Hawes has scored nines points and added six rebounds for the Sixers, who have the lead despite being out-shot (40-percent to 35-percent) and out-rebounded (23-18). Philly has also made just one of its 10 3-point attempts.
The Sixers will look to take a 2-1 series lead over the Bulls on Friday night.
The Chicago Bulls operated quite well without Derrick Rose during the regular season. But after they were throttled 109-92 by the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night in their first game since Rose's torn ACL, panic is taking over as the emotion of choice in the Windy City.
"There's more than a little," CSN Chicago analyst David Kaplan said Wednesday. "I think there's a lot of panic."
"I think once Derrick went down, people hung their hat on, 'Well, the Bulls had a great record when Derrick was sidelined for a large chunk of the regular season. Everything will be fine. They beat the Heat without Derrick, no problem,'" he continued. "After watching that pathetic second half last night, from a Chicago perspective, I think there's a lot of panic in the streets."
For more discussion of the panic in Chicago, watch the video below:
Enjoying his new spot in the Philadelphia 76ers' starting lineup, Evan Turner pitched in 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists Tuesday night to help Philadelphia oust the Chicago Bulls, 109-92, and even their first-round playoff series at 1-1.
Quickly, Turner is showing that his team can rely on him during critical games and moments.
"That's what I love about Evan," Doug Collins said. "Evan feels like he's the best player in the gym. And I love that."
Turner said before the series that Philadelphia was happy to play Chicago rather than Miami, and Bulls fans have yet to forgive him. But he's using their animosity as fuel.
"He's been booed every time he's touched the ball, and he's using that in a very positive way. A lot of guys maybe cower away from that, but Evan has risen to the challenge. I'm not a big guy on doing a lot of talking, but I like the way he's playing," Collins said.
Explained Turner, "Growing up, you hear people always talking about guys who always disappear in big moments. I never want to be that type of guy, so when it comes to big games, I just want to play well and be there to help my teammates."
For more on Turner's emergence, watch the video below:
The Philadelphia 76ers played an excellent second half of basketball in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference series against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. The Sixers outscored the Bulls by 22 points in the third quarter alone, overcoming an eight-point halftime deficit to win 109-92 on the road.
Jrue Holiday led the way for Philadelphia, scoring 26 points (17 in the first half) to lead all players. He shot 11-for-15 from the floor (3-for-3 from beyond the arc) to help the Sixers to a 59 percent shooting performance from the floor. Evan Turner made his way into the starting lineup over Jodie Meeks, and pitched in 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists of his own.
The Bulls, on the other hand, made just 45.2 percent of their 84 field goal attempts on the night. Joakim Noah went 10-for-11 from the floor, but didn't get much help from his teammates. Luol Deng went 3-for-12 and Carlos Boozer went 4-for-10 from the floor. Surprisingly, point guard was among the least of the Bulls' worries. John Lucas scored 15 on 7-for-12 shooting with four assists to one turnover playing in place of the injured Derrick Rose.
The Sixers were incredibly efficient in the second half. They committed zero turnovers after halftime to finish with just seven for the game. They also turned a 20-16 rebounding deficit into a 38-32 advantage. Lavoy Allen recorded a game-high nine rebounds to go with 11 points in 26 minutes on the court.
The Philadelphia 76ers are down 55-47 After two quarters at the United Center against the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference series. It was a tight defensive battle for most of 24 minutes, but the Bulls got hot late, going on a 10-1 run to take hold of the lead.
The Sixers are actually outshooting the Bulls from the floor, 52.8 perent to 49 percent. Philadelphia has committed three more turnovers (seven to four) and has been outrebounded 20 to 16 on the night, and find themselves down on the scoreboard as a result.
Jrue Holiday leads all players with 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting. Evan Turner started and has six points to go with five rebounds. Joakim Noah leads the Bulls with 14 points and five rebounds so far. Chicago has six players on pace to finish with double-digit points, including John Lucas who has 11 playing in place of Derrick Rose.
The Philadelphia Sixers may be looking to shakeup their starting lineup after losing in Game one 91-103 to the Chicago Bulls. The Sixers play game Two of the NBA Playoffs on Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT.
Coach Collins was quick with trigger on Sunday pulling guard Jodie Meeks after only seven and half minutes into the game. Collins was clearly frustrated with Meeks poor shot selection and turnover as Evan Turner finished the game with 29:30 minutes of floortime.
Asked whether he could commit to Meeks starting on Tuesday, Coach Collins replied:
"I have to think about it," Collins said. "I'm not going to show my hand right now. I have 2 days to prepare so I'll see about that."
There were premature reports that Derrick Rose had torn both his MCL and ACL in Saturday's game against the Sixers. Those reports turned out to be false. However; the official Twitter account of the Chicago Bulls just tweeted that, Derrick Rose is indeed done for the rest of the reason, with a torn ACL.
Breaking news: Bulls guard Derrick Rose tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and he is out for the remainder of the season.— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 28, 2012
This news drastically changes the landscape of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. The Bulls were the number one overall seed and would've had home-court advantage throughout the NBA Finals. They've played well without Rose all season, but without him their chances of defeating an elite team like the Miami Heat are extremely limited.
It's not even a guarantee they'll beat the Sixers in the first round now. Game two is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Eastern Conference's number one seed, the Chicago Bulls, easily handled the Philadelphia 76ers in game one of the two teams' first round match-up in the 2012 NBA Playoffs. However; things got a lot more interesting in the final two minutes, when Derrick Rose suffered what looked to be a horrific knee injury.
Without Rose, the Bulls probably aren't going to win the Eastern Conference, let alone the Championship, but that doesn't mean they still can't beat the eight seed Sixers. They've played well without Rose all season and beat the Sixers without him on St. Patrick's Day, 89-80.
Evan Turner – who replaced Jodie Meeks in the starting lineup in the second half – played well and will probably start the rest of the series.
With less than two minutes remaining the first game of the 2012 NBA Playoffs for the Chicago Bulls, their star point guard went down with a potentially devastating knee injury. Rose crossed over Spencer Hawes, drove to the basket and appeared to tweak his knee as he planted during his hop step. He grabbed for his knee immediately and grimaced as he lay on the ground, in pain. The medical staff examined his knee before helping him to the locker room. Video of the injury is below:
The Bulls went on to win the game, but the Derrick Rose injury could end any and all hopes the Bulls had at making it out of the Eastern Conference and winning the NBA Championship. Rose has missed time all season with various injuries, and the Bulls have played well in his absence, but without him they're probably not going to beat the Heat or Celtics in a seven game series.
The reigning MVP averaged 22 points and eight assists in 29 regular season games in 2011-12. Here's a picture of him being helped off the court:
Through three quarters, the Philadelphia 76ers trail the Chicago Bulls by 13 points. The first seed Bulls have simply been too over-powering for the eighth seed Sixers to do much, besides hang around. They've trailed by 8-10 for most of the contest.
For my money, the most impressive Sixer in the third quarter was second year guard, Evan Turner. Turner started the game on the bench, but was inserted into the starting lineup in the second half, replacing Jodie Meeks. His ball-handling and dribble penetration have been impressive against the Bulls stingy defense. He was also part of the following skirmish:
The first half went exactly as you would expect a match-up between the one and eight seeds to go. The Bulls looked and played like a better team. The Sixers had a few moments and nice stretches, but were generally out-matched.
The remainder of the game can be seen on TNT.
For much of the first quarter the Bulls looked every bit of the Eastern Conference's number one seed – tenacious defense and efficient offense – but the eight seed Sixers put together a nice run late in the quarter, cutting the final deficit to four.
Richard Hamilton is the game's leading scorer with 11.
The remainder of the game can be seen on TNT.
The Philadelphia 76ers travel to face the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of the first round in the NBA Playoffs at 1:00 p.m. ET at the United Center. The Sixers earned the No. 8 playoff seed after finishing with a 35-31 record in the Atlantic Division.
The Sixers are getting the matchup they wanted according tweets and commentary by guard Evan Turner.
"I think we compete well against Chicago." said Turner.
"We match up better with them." he later tweeted
The Sixers were hot on the road, closing out the regular season with wins in four of their last five contests. Louis Williams remains the Sixers most aggressive scorer averaging 14.9 points in only 26 minutes played per game. The Sixers will look to defend against Derek Rose who has been slowed by a groin injury since March.
For more on the Sixers, check out the SB Nation blog Liberty Ballers.
The NBA Playoffs begin Saturday, when the Sixers and Bulls kick things off at 1:00 PM EST.
The first round schedule for the 2012 NBA Playoffs is all set following the end of regular season play on Thursday. The Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Toronto Raptors, wrapping up the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference and setting up a date with the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round. The two teams will tip off for Game 1 on Saturday in Chicago at 1:00 p.m. ET on TNT.
You can check out the full series schedule below. All times are Eastern, and keep in mind that games 5, 6 and 7 will only be played if necessary.
Game 1: Saturday, April 28, Chicago, 1:00 p.m. TV: TNT
Game 2: Tuesday, May 1, Chicago, 8:00 p.m. TV: TNT
Game 3: Friday, May 4, Philadelphia, 8:00 p.m. TV: ESPN
Game 4: Sunday, May 6, Philadelphia, 1:00 p.m. TV: ABC
Game 5: Tuesday, May 8, Chicago, TBD TV: TBD
Game 6: Thursday, May 10, Philadelphia, TBD TV: TBD
Game 7: Saturday, May 12, Chicago, TBD TV: TNT
Click here for a full schedule of every first round series in the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
The Philadelphia 76ers will open the 2012 NBA Playoffs on Saturday against either the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat.
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