Sixers with a chance to finish the Bulls

From espn.com

by Alex Young

Game five is tonight. The lower seed has a chance to knockout the favorite. The best player in the series is out. No, for once I’m not talking about the Flyers-Devils series. I’m talking about your team, your town, your Philadelphia 76ers.

The Sixers have taken advantage of some big breaks (and ACL tears) and have a 3-1 lead over the top-seeded Chicago Bulls, and play tonight in Chicago for a shot at advancing to the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

No one was giving them a chance going into the series, and admittedly, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah going down has been a big help, but the Sixers have still outplayed and beaten a better Bulls team three games in a row.

The Bulls took game one with Rose almost going for a triple double (23-9-9) before tearing his ACL in the waning minutes of the contest. Game two was the obvious letdown game for the Bulls, with the Sixers winning, 109-92. Jrue Holliday led all scorers with 26 points.

With the series heading to Philly for game three, the Sixers had to show that their previous win wasn’t a fluke. They headed into the fourth quarter of a very ugly defensive game trailing, 60-51. They went on to dominate the Bulls in the final quarter, outscoring them 28-14. They were again helped by an injured Bull when Noah rolled his ankle and has helped off the court.

Although game four was close throughout, the Sixers really outplayed the reeling Bulls. Spencer Hawes followed up with 21 point game-one  output by scoring 22 points in game four. That made him the first Sixers’ center to record back-to-back 20 point playoff games since the great Moses Malone. That’s kind of a big deal.

Will there be a footnote to this series? Sure. Derrick Rose is the reigning MVP and not having to handle him every night has been a huge help for the Sixers. But, they can only play the team that’s in front of them. The Bulls, even without Rose, should still be a better team than the Sixers. They have just been outplayed by Doug Collins’ men.

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