Sixers fail to close out Bulls in Game 5
The Sixers fell to the Bulls 77-69 Tuesday night in a disappointing Game 5 defeat. The hometown ballers had a chance to clinch their first playoff series since 2003, but ran into a desperate and hungry Chicago team. The series shifts back to the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, as the Sixers look to close it out — again.
Three Things We Saw …
1. Role playing. In the first four games of this series, Andre Iguodala was an afterthought offensively. He only took the shots that came to him, which resulted in 10.7 attempts per game. But on Tuesday night, Iguodala took the offensive burden on his shoulders — and predictably failed. He went 4-for-19 from the field and scored just 11 points.
2. Rugby or basketball. This was the ugliest game in what has been an absurdly ugly series. The two teams combined for 61 points in the first half. Yes, the Bulls were the No. 1 defense in the league in the regular season, but the Sixers have to create better offense. It’s hard to watch right now.
3. Tough shots. Credit the Bulls for making more than their share of difficult shots, especially in the second half. Carlos Boozer threw in a handful of tightly-contested moonballs on his way to 19 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Luol Deng caught fire from 3-point range, finishing with 24 points on four treys.
Looking ahead to Game 6 …
Thought the depleted Bulls were ready to lie down? Nope.
Come Thursday’s Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers will be the ones with their backs against the wall. The Bulls proved Tuesday night that winning in Chicago will be no small feat, so going back there for a Game 7 won’t be a desirable option.
Once again, injuries will be a story. Joakim Noah (ankle) was a game-time decision Tuesday, so he has a chance to be ready for Thursday. Evan Turner, who has a history of back issues dating back to Ohio State, appeared to injure his neck in the second half.
Furthermore, the first-half skirmish between Taj Gibson and Elton Brand could have ramifications. Both players appeared to throw elbows while wrestling for a loose ball, which could lead to a suspension.