Updated: June 3, 2012 8:21AM
Luol Deng is correct in citing defensive breakdowns as the reason for the Bulls’ 109-92 loss Tuesday against the 76ers in Game 2.
But defense shouldn’t be his only concern. If the Bulls hope to advance, they’ll need better offensive showings from Deng and Carlos Boozer.
The duo went 1-for-6 from the field in the second half for two points. They combined for 17 points overall.
“We’ve got to play better defense,” Deng said. “Offense is not who we are. We’ve got to take pride in our defense. We’ve got a lot of different guys who can score, but this is the playoffs. Tonight was embarrassing. All of us. No one is going to feel sorry for us. We all have to step it up.”
Credit the 76ers, who stepped up the defensive intensity they lacked in Game 1.
Over the last two days, 76ers coach Doug Collins said he expected more of the Bulls’ offense to run through Boozer and Deng, especially in the absence of Derrick Rose.
Boozer, in particular, didn’t create anything offensively. He attempted only one field goal in the second half.
“He’s got to get his touches,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I think they search him out. You’ve got to give their defense credit, too. We want to have a balanced attack. He’s a primary scorer.”
Thibodeau expects more from Boozer.
“[Boozer] just has to play his game, do his job,” Thibodeau said. “There’s so many different ways he can score.
“But as a team, we didn’t play up to our ability.”