Sixers look to close out Bulls, ready for hardest win in sports

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The Bulls are depleted, worn down and frustrated. That doesn’t mean they’ll go down without a fight.

Most of the Sixers’ players don’t know it, but finishing out a series on the road is a tall order. They’ve been to the playoffs in four of the last five seasons, but haven’t won a series since 2003. Among rotation players, only Elton Brand was even in the NBA at that time.

“The close-out game is the hardest game to win in sports,” coach Doug Collins said. “We’ve got to go into Chicago with the idea that we’ve got to try and get that win.”

It’s a hard game to win, but the top-seeded Bulls are also in a unique situation.

Joakim Noah (ankle) was limping badly while wearing a walking boot Sunday and is almost certainly out for Game 5. Derrick Rose (torn ACL) is done, Luol Deng has been locked down by Andre Iguodala and Richard Hamilton was benched in favor of Kyle Korver in the fourth quarter of Game 4. There are few reasons to think the Bulls can storm back and win three straight.

Sixers top assistant Michael Curry spoke to the team after Sunday’s win, reminding them of the time his Pistons were down 3-1 to the Magic and came back to win. Consider it a warning.

“Next game, we have to play like it’s Game 7,” Jrue Holiday said. “Like our backs are against the wall, like it’s do or die.”


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