The Bulls, looking at what could be their last game of the season came in to Game 5 with a purpose on the defensive end. Holding Philadelphia to just 26 points at the half on 29% shooting, they grinded their way to an eventual game six in Philly.
Lu opened the game with a midrange jumper, scoring the Bulls first four points. An Evan Turner tip in transition put Philly on the board for two, two and a half minutes in to the game. He finished the game with four points and eight rebounds. Lavoy Allen caught fire from outside the paint in the first quarter, scoring six consecutive points but a 7-0 run for the Bulls allowed them to finish the quarter with 17 points to the 76ers 16.
The Bulls maintained their defensive prowess (and offensive inability) through the second quarter as Philly started the game 1-5 and neither teams scored until the ten minute mark when guards John Lucas III and Lou Williams (13 points) drained mid-range jumpers. Deng finished the half with 11 points on 5-8 shooting, looking a lot more like the Lu we’re accustomed to seeing. Carlos scored his first point of the game after a pair of split free throws with four minutes remaining in the first half. His quiet start was followed by two nice moves a block at the rim as the Bulls finished the half on a 10 – 2 run. Taj finished the half with 4 blocks and technical foul that may lead to a suspension.
Key stat: The 76ers finished the half with 8 turnovers. In the past three games, they’ve committed a total of eight turnovers each. The Bulls went in to the half with a 35 – 26 lead. Yes, the half. Philadelphia scored a playoff low 26 points after the first two quarters. Classic Bulls defense. The until-now, completely unconscious Jrue Holiday finished the game with 16 points on 17 shots.
The third quarter was all about Carlos Boozer! After a mostly absent first half – and let’s face it… series – he came alive and finished the game with 19 and 13, with a career playoff high six assists, including an almost-dunk on a nice move with two seconds left to go in the third quarter. As if the Bulls hadn’t had enough of their injury woes this season, Taj Gibson went down hard on his ankle at the two minute mark. Luckily, he checked back in during the fourth to score four straight points for Chicago. Look to @KCJHoop for an update on Taj’s status after the game. A steady effort from Luol Deng who hit three dagger three’s and finished the game with 24 points as well as Boozer, helped the Bulls put away the Sixers tonight. Ronnie Brewer finished with six points, eight boards and an immeasurable jolt of energy. Another notable line from tonight includes Iggy’s 11 points off 4-19 shooting, as he refuses to give up on the three-point line.
The difference: I had a hard time choosing between Gibson and Deng, but at the end of the day I have to give it to Taj. That little scuffle he had with Elton Brand is what got the Bulls excited. You don’t want to get the Bulls excited. Especially not at the United Center. And he had a great fourth quarter playing with one leg. And he had four blocks in a half. Eight points and seven boards may not sound like a lot, but tonight it was the difference.
Final Score: Bulls 77 – 76ers 69