(Sports Network) - Make no mistake, the Chicago Bulls are in a dogfight now.
The top-seeded Bulls were a prohibitive favorite over the Philadelphia 76ers
in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals before superstar Derrick Rose suffered
a torn ACL late in a Game 1 rout.
Now Chicago is fighting for its playoff life without Rose as the series shifts
to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Friday.
The 76ers found a way to turn out the lights on a Bulls team trying to rally
without their superstar on Tuesday. They shot 'em out.
Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Evan Turner combined to score 65 points in Game
2 as Philadelphia shot nearly 60 percent from the floor to stun Chicago 109-92
and even their first-round series at a game apiece.
The Bulls, of course, won the series opener on Saturday but lost the reigning
MVP Rose for the rest of the season to a torn ligament in his left knee.
Tuesday was a different story as the Sixers became the first No. 8 seed in the
East to win a game on the road since 2003. Holiday scored 26 points, Williams
had 20 off the bench and Turner added 19 for the Sixers, who shot 59 percent
for the game and led by as many as 24 down the stretch.
"A wonderful win," said Sixers coach Doug Collins.
Philadelphia shot better than 68 percent while outscoring the Bulls 36-14 in a
third quarter punctuated by alley-oop dunks and 11 fast-break points.
"The third quarter was the game," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "They got
into the open floor and crushed us off isolation. We have to come back with a
lot more fight."
Joakim Noah scored 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting in Rose's absence and John
Lucas had 15. C.J. Watson started for Rose, who watched the game from a United
Center booth, and had 12 points.
The Bulls went 18-9 without Rose in regular season as their star point guard
battled a litany of injuries, but struggled to stop the hard-charging Sixers
in the second half.
"We're capable of playing a lot better than we did," Thibodeau said. "It
starts with me. I have to get us ready to play better. We have a couple of
days to get it right."
Thibodeau was especially concerned about his team losing its identity --
rebounding and defense.
"Defense and rebounding, that's the whole key," said Thibodeau. "The big thing
was they got into the open floor. They got easy baskets. You get easy baskets
early in the game, you're going to get confidence. When a team gets
confidence, they're much harder to shut down."
On the injury for the Sixers, defensive stalwart Andre Iguodala has been
limited in the series with a sore right Achilles but will continue to play.
These two rivals have met in postseason twice before, in the East semifinals
in back-to-back years (1990 and '91) during the Michael Jordan-era with
Chicago taking both sets 4-1.
Game 4 is set for Sunday also in Philadelphia.
The Sports Network