- Philly in 6
- Philly in 7
- Bulls in 7
Created on May 10, 2012
The Chicago Bulls managed to pull out a win at home against the Philadelphia 76'ers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. With their backs against the wall down 3-1, Chicago and with big help from Luol Deng, (24pts, 8rebs, 2stls, 2blks, 4-5 3pts) and big bench rebounding (Bulls bench out-rebounded Philly 19-11 and 4-3 offensively) to extend the series and send it back to Philly. With a win away at Philadelphia (Chicago's lost last 4 road playoff games), the Bulls can bring it back to the United Center for a pressure-cooker of a Game 7 match that could undoubtedly reach historic viewership numbers.
To be frank, the Bulls still have a better roster than Philly, even without Rose. Joakim Noah however, must be on the court for the Bulls to have an advantage against the Sixers statistically. Without Noah on the floor this matchup is an even contest and comes down to offense, a category in which the Bulls (Chicago averaged 96.3ppg 18th overall, Philly averaged 93.6 to finish 22nd overall) may have to toss up because of the loss of Rose (averaged 21ppg for the season) and Noah (10ppg, 9rpg) won't be 100% coming back from a ankle injury -if he even plays at all. No matter the case, there is still a game to play.
The Bulls have a great chance of still winning at Philly despite a playoff road record that says the opposite. Theystill are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference because of their team play and depth; they earned the top playoff spot without Derrick Rose for most of it, now it's time to win a playoff series in spite of that very fact.
The Sixers must feel a bit of pressure, having an opportunity to close the series out in Chicago and failing to do so. Losing Game 6 at home, in front of that unforgiving Philly crowd will deliver a huge blow to the psyche of an over confident Philadelphia team and allow the Bulls as much help mentally as they could possibly get going into Game 7. First Game 6 and for the Bulls, there still is a chance.
"As I See It", the Bulls must come to terms with the fact that Carlos Boozer will not contribute defensively to the degree that they would like. So take a 15pt-9reb (2012 playoff average) effort from Booz, and allow other players to step up defensively. However, the key to winning in a hostile Philadelphia is a huge contribution from the Bulls backcourt.
C.J. Watson, John Lucas III, Rip Hamilton and at times Ronnie Brewer must all contribute beyond just effort in order for this series to have a chance. Watson, the Bulls starter at guard in Rose's absence is averaging 7.6ppg and 4.6apg in the first round. C.J. scored 17pts last the last game Chicago played at Philly - an 82-89 loss, he will need to repeat that effort as well as the rest of the Bulls backcourt. John Lucas the third will need to get back to the shot-happy, icy veined product from every basketball league invented that he was in the regular season.
Rip must continue play aggressive and take more than the 9 shots a game that he has for the past two games against the Sixers, Rip has taken a total of 18 shots for 13pts in the past two games. This has to increase or Brewer should supplant him in the rotation, to add another dimension to the defense and really put the clamps down on the Sixers at-times "streaky" jump shooting.
So in the words of Lloyd Christmas,