Bulls 78, Sixers 79 — FINAL
Sixer win series 4-2
They showed more fight and will then they had all series long and they took it down to the final seconds but it wasn’t enough as a crucial foul and two greet Andre Iguodala free throws ended the Bulls season in six games 79-78.
It didn’t start pretty either. The Bulls were involved in a bitter back and forth with Philly which saw the Sixers pull ahead by eight points at halftime, a lead they eventually expanded to 10 before the Bulls fought back to tie the game at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth, the Bulls pulled ahead and started to play prevent.
Taj Gibson was electric the whole game and his performance needs to be commended. With Carlos Boozer’s poor play, Gibson in the eyes of many fans and critics may have made a serious and convincing case that he should be the starting power forward for the Bulls next season.
Another guy who had a great game was Omer Asik. The Turkish Hammer had been notoriously poor from the free throw line this year but he was 3-5 from the stripe and played some outstanding defense in the second half for Chicago. All night long he dominated Elton Brand down low which energized the Bulls play in the paint.
But it was Asik’s two missed free throws at the end that proved the difference.
Rip Hamilton also deserves mild credit for finally stepping up in a big spot. Rip knocked down 19 points, basically all of which came in the second half — a place he’s been a ghost so far.
The man of the hour again was Luol Deng who not only threw down leadership style stats on the night but he backed it up with leadership style swagger. Deng continued his Game 5 performance and seemed to be the only Bulls who wanted to do anything for a majority of the game.
Chicago held the lead the during the fourth quarter up until the 4:01 mark when Andre Iguodala hit a 26-foot three pointer to give Philly a one point lead. They grabbed the lead right back at the 3:34 mark when Luol Deng (who else) hit a jumper to reverse the one point lead.
The Bulls then went prevent defense and ran the equivalent of what NFL teams do at the end of the game pounding the ball and running out the clock.
The Sixers made it close at the end but with 0:25 left in the game Omer Asik slammed down a dunk that gave the Bulls a 78-75 lead. Philly charged back and made it a 78-77. Omer Asik drew a foul with around 0:07 left in the game on a play in which C.J. Watson should have held onto the ball and drew the foul himself.
Asik missed the two free throws and the Sixers charged down the court with Iguodala drawing a foul which sent him to the line. He sank both free throws and with 0:02 left, the Bulls were helpless.
Chicago wasn’t given much of a chance after losing Derrick Rose in Game 1 but they managed to make the series much more interesting then it could have been. But they now face once of the most depressing offseasons in recent memory with Derrick Rose and Luol Deng in need of surgery and Joakim Noah still unable to run.
The season didn’t end the way anybody wanted but it wasn’t as bad of a season as it will be remembered as. Tom Thibodeau made history, as did Rip Hamilton and the Bulls owned the best record in the regular season for the second straight year.
But for the second straight year they learned that regular season success means jack when you get to the playoffs.