The final score was reminiscent of those ugly playoff games from last season, but this time around, the Bulls made just enough plays late to beat the 76ers. Things got a little interesting at the very end thanks to some botched free throw shooting, but Joakim Noah's clutch offensive rebound off a Richard Hamilton missed freebie helped secure the victory. The win was the Bulls' second straight and moved them back over .500.
Luol Deng was magnificent all game long and hit several huge shots down the stretch, including an off-balanced jumper on a broken possession. Deng finished with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while also notching seven rebounds and seven assists. Those seven assists were part of a 28-assist night for the Bulls.
The Bulls' frontcourt in general played pretty brilliant, as Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson all helped Chicago dominate the glass. Noah had 12 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Boozer had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Gibson added 11 points and eight rebounds. The Bulls out-rebounded the Sixers 50-37.
The Bulls did have an injury scare in the third quarter when Hamilton left the game with a left foot sprain. I, and many others, feared the worst, but he returned to the game late for free throw purposes. I'm sure the foot will be pretty sore in the morning, and this is definitely something to be monitored, especially given the Bulls' history of handling injuries(#FredClearedHim).
More to come tomorrow.