The Chicago Bulls are moving forward to Game 6 of their opening-round series in the NBA’s postseason because of their forwards.
Luol Deng (24 points, eight rebounds) and Carlos Boozer (19 points, 13 rebounds) led the way as the Bulls defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 77-69 on Tuesday at the United Center. The victory left the Bulls with a 3-2 deficit heading to Thursday’s Game 6 in Philly.
Playing without injured starting guard (and reigning NBA Most Valuable Player) Derrick Rose and starting center Joakim Noah, the No. 1 seed Bulls staved off an early end to their season.
And you can add reserve forward Taj Gibson to the forward-thinking Bulls. He twisted his right ankle in the third quarter but returned late in the fourth as the Bull held a lead, a trait they did not show in losses to the Sixers. Deng had nine fourth-quarter points — on three three-point field goals.
“They stepped up big,” Gibson said of Boozer and Deng. “They were aggressive on both offense and defense.”
“Luol had great energy,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He gave us an all-around game. He got some easy buckets early. He gave us defense, rebounding. I thought Carlos was terrific in the post. [Center] Omer [Asik] and Taj gave us great defense. Ronnie Brewer was terrific.”
“Give the Bulls all the credit tonight,” Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. “Boozer and Deng were great. Luol hit some big 3′s at the end with the shot clock winding down.
“We just need to go home now and be more efficient defensively.”
Not to mention offensively. The Sixers shot 26-of-78 (32.1 percent). The game — which was 35-26 Bulls at the half — resembled a battle of No. 8 seeds, if not lower.
Asked if the pressure now is on the Sixers who would have to return to Chicago for a Game 7 on Saturday if the Bulls prevail Thursday, Deng said, “We’re in a situation where we know if we lose, we go home. After tonight’s game, they are going to feel some pressure. We have to go out and take it a game at a time.”
Otherwise, the Bulls will suffer an untimely demise.
Despite a Game 5 victory, the editorial staff at elliottharris.com has decided to keep running video of Chicago Luvabulls dance team members. To see Krystal, you can click here.
If things go according to plan (and they occasionally do), there will be video of the Luvabulls from Game 5 either later today or Thursday (or possibly both). Stay tuned.
Thanks to Bill McCormick, the man who designed this site, you will have some video to look at. Although Bill did not make the following video, he was kind enough to post some very viewable video that he unearthed in his Web wanderings:
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