Bulls guard Richard Hamilton drives by Sixers guard Evan Turner in the first quarter as the Chicago Bulls battle the Philadelphia 76ers in game five of the first round of the NBA playoffs Tuesday May 8, 2012 at the United Center in Chicago. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times
Updated: May 9, 2012 12:48AM
Tom Thibodeau has insisted almost daily that the Bulls had enough on the court to win playoff games, even with Derrick Rose and his torn ACL done for the year and Joakim Noah sidelined with an ankle sprain.
Facing elimination in Game 5 of the first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, at least for one night, the top-seeded Bulls did have enough, winning 77-69 at the United Center.
And while Thibodeau had to be glad to see both Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng show up on the same night, as the two combined for 43 points, it was a clamp-down defense that had been MIA which was the difference. The Bulls not only held Philadelphia to a series low 69 points, but held them to just 32 percent from the field.
As far as that “fight’’ Thibodeau has been begging for his team to show, it came, just not how he envisioned.
With 2:25 left in the second quarter, Taj Gibson and Elton Brand went down on the floor by the Bulls bench for a loose ball. It appeared Gibson hit Brand in the face going for the ball, leading to a pile-up and some pushing and shoving between players.
Brand and Gibson were each given technical fouls. Later in the game, Gibson appeared to injure his ankle and had to go to the locker room, but came back in the game in the fourth.
With Philadelphia still leading the best-of-seven series 3-2, both teams head back to The City of Brotherly Love for Game 6 on Thursday.