76ers focusing on fifth game knockout

May, 8, 2012
5/08/12
2:07
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins said it is important for his team to focus on closing out the Chicago Bulls in their first-round series on Tuesday.

[+] EnlargeDoug Collins
Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty ImagesDoug Collins doesn't want his young 76ers to get comfortable with their 3-1 series lead on the Bulls.
The No. 8-seed 76ers, who haven’t won a playoff series since 2003, lead the top-seeded Bulls 3-1 heading into Tuesday’s Game 5.

“You can’t be in one of those human nature games where you get into a tight game and you get down six or eight or whatever, and your mind starts playing tricks on you,” Collins said after his team’s shootaround on Tuesday morning. “ ‘Well, we’ve always got Game 6. We’ve always got Game 7.’ You can’t approach it with that idea that you’ve got three games to win one. That would be very dangerous.”

76ers guard Evan Turner said he is approaching Game 5 as a must-win situation.

“Every game is must-win because you want to win the next game and take advantage of it,” said Turner, who has averaged 14 points and 6.3 rebounds in the series. “You don’t worry about Game 6 or 7. You worry about Game 5.”


Despite taking the last three games from the Bulls, 76ers forward Elton Brand doesn’t expect the Bulls to lay down in Game 5.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Brand said. “They’re definitely going to play with a lot of energy, a lot of effort. It’s going to be tough.

“I don’t see any letdown from the Bulls. I see them coming out and playing good basketball tonight. They played very well during the season, and I think they feel they can win a game or two games in a row. We need to really come out the first five minutes really strong (Tuesday.)”

Brand believes another key is for the 76ers’ veterans not to put too much pressure on themselves with a trip to the second round on the line.

“The younger guys, they’re young,” Brand said. “They don’t even realize what they’re getting into it. It’s a fun spirit around here. There’s not a lot of pressure on the guys. They’re just having fun playing basketball. Now the veteran guys, we’re a little more nervous. We’re like, ‘We got to have this, calm down.’”

Collins is confident his team is focused heading into Game 5.

“Our guys are loose,” Collins said. “They know what’s at stake. We know the thing that’s most important to us tonight -- the game has to be as important to us as it is to them.”
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5