Patchwork Bulls Get it Done in Phily


Aaron Phillips

 

Philadelphia—- Playing their 5th game in 7 nights, the Bulls dressed only 10 players but held on in overtime,  to beat host Philadelphia 104-95.  Although  Joakim Noah ( knees), became the latest Bulls starter relegated to the bench due to injury, it is not considered serious enough for him to miss significant time.  Noah warned up before the game but begrudgingly admitted to coach Tom Thibodeau that the recent grueling stretch  had taken its toll on his suspect knees. While Jimmy Butler (elbow) missed his 6th game, Taj Gibson (ankle) missed his 7th and Derrick Rose (knee) missed his 9th, the Bulls found another hero as Aaron Brooks (31 points,), stepped up in the fourth quarter (11 points) and overtime (7 points), to lead Chicago.

The Bulls started the game like a team ready to  make quick work of the lowly 76’rs, sprinting out to a 14-6 lead in the first quarter. However, the young and energetic Phily team would not be deterred as they raced back to even the score at 22 by the end of the opening quarter. 76’rs guard Isaiah Canaan, came of the bench to score 9 points to help his team tie the score. Bulls veteran forward Pau Gasol (27 points 16 rebounds), got to work in the first quarter, scoring 14 of the Bulls first 22 points. His 44th double-double of the season marked a career high and kept him the league leader in that category.

In the second quarter, the teams changed baskets, as the Bulls got 12 points and 4 assists from rookie Nikola Miriotic to help knot the score at 51 at intermission. Chicago shot a respectable 48% for the half, compared to 40% for Philadelphia. However, the Bulls once again found themselves way behind on shot attempts (39-52). This has been a growing trend for the Bulls and a symptom of the creative lineups Bulls coach Thibodeau has been forced to assemble.  Philadelphia, made 22 three point shot attempts in the first half, connecting on 7 of them (31%).

The second half began with the 76’rs missing their first 12 shots and not finding the bottom of the net until a Robert Covington (12 points), layup with 4:20 left in the third. The Bulls took advantage of the poor  shooting display and dashed out to a 72-63 lead after 3 quarters, that was highlighted by a half-court hurl by Bulls guard Mike Dunleavy as time expired. Philadelphia missed all 7 three point attempts in the quarter, which helped the Bulls take a 9 point lead.

 

After an E’Twaun  Moore field goal to open the 4th, the feisty 76’rs, who had beaten top seeded Atlanta on Saturday, erupted for a 17-5 run to take an 80-79 lead with 5:24 left in the game. Philadelphia was led by guard Ish Smith, who scored a career high 23 points on 9-21 shooting. After 2 freethrows by 76’rs forward Jerami Grant put Phily up 92-89, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau called a timeout with .43 seconds to set up the play. It looked as if the Bulls might get their 13th road loss of the season until Aaron Brooks, who had scored 8 points in the fourth, found the well one more time on a sensational fade-away three pointer right in front of the Phily bench that tied the score at 92.  With just .33 seconds to play Philadelphia coach Brett Brown called a timeout to set up a play.

However, after  Isaiah Canaan missed a layup and Tony Snell ( 10 points, 10 rebounds, 7 turnovers) grabbed the rebound, it looked as though the Bulls would hold for a last second shot. It was not to be as Snell tried to make a full length pass to Kirk Hinrich, which was picked off giving the Bulls their 18th turnover of the game and setting up the home team for a possible dramatic win. After Brown called his final time out with .14 seconds left, Philadelphia, forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, missed a 16 foot jump shot as time expired in regulation.

In overtime, Aaron Brooks continued his hot shooting, scoring 7 points in the extra frame to lead the Bulls to their 20th road victory of the season. Last years Bulls  team did not record their 20th road win of the season until a late  tilt against rival Washington on April 5th. That team finished with 21 road wins for the entire season. With 9 road games remaining, Chicago should easily eclipse that mark this year.

 

Tom  Thibodeau on his teams effort after the game: “We had a lot of guys step up and we needed everyone. We have a lot of guys out. Just find a way to scratch out wins, hold the fort until we can get some guys back and we go from there.”

 

Aaron Phillips

1 x – Atlanta 50 14 .781 - 30-4 20-10 9-2 32-9 102.8 96.7 +6.1 Lost 1 7-3
2 Cleveland 41 25 .621 10 24-9 17-16 6-5 25-13 102.9 98.4 +4.5 Won 2 7-3
3 Chicago 40 26 .606 11 20-14 20-12 6-5 23-14 101.0 98.8 +2.2 Won 1 5-5
4 Toronto 38 26 .594 12 21-11 17-15 10-2 26-13 104.5 101.3 +3.2 Lost 4 1-9
5 Washington 36 28 .563 14 22-10 14-18 8-6 25-18 98.4 97.5 +0.9 Won 1 3-7
6 Milwaukee 34 30 .531 16 19-12 15-18 5-6 23-15 97.7 96.6 +1.1 Won 1 3-7
7 Indiana 29 34 .460 20 ½ 17-14 12-20 6-5 21-16 96.5 96.0 +0.5 Won 6 9-1
8 Miami 29 35 .453 21 14-18 15-17 4-9 19-19 94.5 97.0 -2.5 Won 1 6-4
Charlotte 28 35 .444 21 ½ 15-18 13-17 7-5 21-17 95.0 97.0 -2.0 Lost 2 6-4
Boston 27 36 .429 22 ½ 16-16 11-20 7-4 15-21 100.8 102.0 -1.2 Won 2 7-3
Brooklyn 25 38 .397 24 ½ 11-19 14-19 7-5 14-22 96.3 100.0 -3.7 Lost 5 3-7
Detroit 23 41 .359 27 12-21 11-20 5-7 15-22 98.1 99.8 -1.7 Lost 8 2-8
Orlando 21 45 .318 30 11-21 10-24 4-10 13-29 95.7 101.4 -5.7 Lost 2 4-6
Philadelphia 14 50 .219 36 9-23 5-27 1-11 10-30 90.7 100.8 -10.1 Lost 1 2-8
New York 12 51 .190 37 ½ 8-23 4-28 4-7 8-32 92.2 101.1 -8.9 Lost 5 2-8

 

UP NEXT:

Bulls travel to Charlotte to play the Hornets Friday night at The Time Warner Cable Arena at 6:00 pm Central,

76’rs play at home Friday against the Sacramento Kings

 

OVERTIME:

*Bulls have now won 10 of 11  games from Philadelphia.

*76’rs took a team record 44 three point attempts.

*Bulls had 18 turnovers in the game which gives them a dismal 57 in their last 3 games.

Twitter: @sportsmeccaCHI, @swim4life1127

 

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