The Sixers spent the first three quarters scuffling for points any way they could find them and stifling the Bulls on the other end of the floor. Unfortunately, the Bulls defense was better and the Sixers couldn't hit the jumpers the Bulls were giving them. In the fourth quarter, that all changed. They scored 28 points on 19 possessions, led by Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, who wouldn't be denied. (game capsule)
Here's your rotation chart:
There was nothing pretty about this game on the offensive end. In fact, this win was possibly the most improbable we'll ever see from this group. Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Thad Young and Lavoy Allen combined to shoot 4/25 for 11 points. Jrue Holiday only played 11 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Even in the fourth quarter, there was a stretch where the Sixers couldn't get a defensive rebound to save their lives. But they battled through. They didn't pout when they were down by 14. They didn't panic. They methodically went about their business and they turned to Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner to bring the game home. The young guys didn't disappoint.
Jrue made what was probably the pivotal play of the game. Rip Hamilton hit a three with 10:15 left to give the Bulls their biggest lead at 67-53. It was a huge momentum swing for the Bulls, and drained the life out of the crowd, but only for about 10 seconds. Jrue took the ball up the floor, drove right to the hole, got contact and finished. He hit the freebie to cut the deficit to 11. Jrue would hand out five assists over the next 7 minutes and add a hoop off a put-back. With the ball in his hands, he orchestrated the offense and got high quality looks for Hawes, Turner and Lou. Prior to that stretch, the Sixers only had 8 assists on the game.
When the comeback was complete, and the game was on the line, Turner wanted the ball and he got it. His first, second and third efforts which eventually landed him on the foul line to push the Sixers lead to three were unbelievable. He wouldn't be denied. This game, much like the last, was all about the Sixers' two young guards. Hope? Maybe.
Player of The Game: I went with Turner tonight, though it could've easily gone to Jrue. Turner played 41 minutes, was stellar on the defensive end and did a good job of attacking the mismatches when they presented themselves. He also grabbed 9 boards. Kudos to Spencer Hawes for finally knocking down his shots late in the game, but I just couldn't give him the nod because he spent long stretches in this game as the worst player on the floor. The sequence where he missed four consecutive point-blank shots and then committed a loose-ball foul to top it off.
Series: 2-1, Sixers.
Up Next:Sunday, 1PM, on ABC.