Taj Gibson vows to play; Joakim Noah doubtful
By NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org May 9, 2012 9:02PM
Updated: June 11, 2012 10:23AM
Taj Gibson didn’t require crutches or a walking boot less than a day after he sprained his right ankle in the Bulls’ 77-69 victory Tuesday against the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center. Joakim Noah, who sprained his left ankle in Game 3, is doubtful for Game 6 on Thursday.
After spraining his ankle, Gibson went back to the locker room to get it retaped, then returned to the game.
Gibson had eight points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots in Game 5. He vowed to play in Game 6.
“Taj Gibson has played great for them,” 76ers coach Doug Collins said. “He has really had a dynamic impact on this series.”
The Bulls didn’t practice Wednesday. Noah and Gibson received treatment before the team left for Philadelphia in the afternoon. Their availability for Game 6 could be determined during the shootaround at the Wells Fargo Center.
Collins talked to his team about the opportunity it has to advance to the second round at practice in Philadelphia.
“From the start of the game, they imposed their will,” Collins said.
“We hung around, but they imposed their will the entire game. Our guys know that.
‘‘I just talked to them: ‘How many years have you been in this league? You have an opportunity tomorrow to get into the second round.’ ”
A victory would propel the 76ers into the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks or Boston Celtics.
The 76ers haven’t won a playoff series since 2003.
“We’re not as physical a team as they are,” Collins said. “For us to come out and say, ‘We’re going to go in there and play smash-mouth with them,’ that’s not what we have to do.
‘‘We have to use our speed and quickness and have that negate their strength and power. When we’ve been able to do that, we’ve had success against them.”
If they prevail in the next two games, the Bulls would become only the ninth team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.