Bulls 89, Sixers 80 — FINAL
Against the Heat, it was John Lucas III who stepped up for the injured Derrick Rose. With Rose out yet again on St. Patrick’s Day Saturday, it was C.J. Watson who threw down and helped the Bulls overcome a 14-point deficit to beat the Sixers and climb out of a nasty hole the Portland Trailblazers dumped them in.
Watson scored 20 in the win and led the Bulls to an NBA best 37-10 record. The Bulls continued a streak of not dropping two straight regular season games since February 5-7, 2011.
“That’s our motto, not to lose two in a row,” Watson said. “We’ve been sticking by that and we just need to keep it up.”
However, the bigger story is that Chicago played their 13th game of the season without Rose who is sitting out with various ailments. At he moment it is assumed he has a groin injury that is contributing to the post-MVP slump. And slump is used lightly but by Rose’s standards, as even he will admit, he’s not up to par to where he should or wants to be.
“That was a tough team we just beat so it gives us a lot of confidence, we just need to keep it going,” said Joakim Noah. “We are playing without our MVP so we just need to keep getting better, keep improving. It was a good bounce back game from yesterday.”
Despite having Jrue Holiday put up 30 points on the night, the Bulls drop kicked the Sixers to their third straight loss and their seventh loss in nine road games.
One of the reason that Holiday was the only Sixer to have any kind of fire power was due to the Bulls defense playing a shutdown style. Ronnie Brewer did a masterful job of taking Evan Turner out of the game and both Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand were held to just seven points.
The Bulls offense wasn’t much more potent with Carlos Boozer 11 points and Luol Deng just 6 points.
Boozer had two huge free throws down the stretch which tied the game at 49-49 in the third quarter which led to a Watson three pointer which gave the Bulls their first lead of the entire game. After that, they played close out rather then catch-up. The loss to the Blazers motivated Chicago to stay tough against the Sixers and they did just that, dominating in the paint and out rebounding Philly 53-39.
“It just shows the character of the team. We take losses personal.” said Noah. “A lot of people have things to say at the end of the day, we take losing real bad and that shows great character.”
The Bulls get Sunday off to recover before hitting the road and battling a Magic team that still includes Dwight Howard in Orlando. It begins a quick two game road trip that sees back to back games against the Raptors; one in Toronto and the other in Chicago.
Next 3 Games
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