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Rapid Reaction: Sixers 109, Bulls 92

5/1/2012

CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 109-92 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Tuesday at the United Center. The series is tied at a game apiece.

How it happened: After heading into halftime with a 55-47 lead, the Bulls got absolutely blitzed in the second half. They got outworked and outhustled in almost every phase of the game. Jrue Holiday dominated the Bulls' defense, scoring 26 points. Evan Turner had another solid game, scoring 17 points. Lou Williams added 20 after struggling in Game 1. Joakim Noah led the way for the Bulls with 21 points and eight rebounds, but it wasn't nearly enough. C.J. Watson, starting in place of the injured Derrick Rose, struggled to find a rhythm as the starting point guard, scoring just 12 points while Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer played poorly throughout the game.

What it means: This was the nightmare Tom Thibodeau didn't want in his first playoff game without Rose. The Sixers beat the Bulls at their own game. They got almost every loose ball, and their defense was better. The Bulls' offense couldn't make many shots in the second half, and aside from Noah, the starters provided next to nothing. What has to be most disconcerting for Thibodeau is that once Philadelphia took the lead, the Bulls seemed to just stop fighting and started taking bad shots. Without Rose there to set them straight, the Bulls allowed the Sixers to walk all over them and didn't respond. Obviously, any team can have a bad game, especially after losing its best player, but the Bulls' problem is that the defense and rebounding that have been key for them all season weren't there for them. Having Rose would have helped immensely, but the problems went deeper than that Tuesday night. If the Bulls want to get the lead back in this series, they have got to get more from Boozer and Deng. Watson must play more consistently as well.

Stat of the night: The Bulls were outscored 52-32 in the paint. They were outscored 25-8 in fast-break points. They were outrebounded 38-32. That's the trifecta of bad as far as Thibodeau is concerned.

Bold play of the game: Pick pretty much any play the Sixers ran in the second half. They outscored the Bulls 36-14 and dominated them in every aspect of the game.

What's next: Game 3 is Friday in Philadelphia.