NBA Playoffs 2012: Behind Evan Turner, Sixers Down Rose-Less Bulls
On Tuesday evening, the Philadelphia 76ers smelled blood in the water. Down eight at halftime, the Sixers surged back in the third quarter, outscoring the Chicago Bulls 36-14 in the game's penultimate quarter. The Sixers would ultimately steal home court from the Bulls, defeating the East's No. 1 seed, 109-92.
Behind a flurry of fast-break scoring in the third quarter from Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams, the Sixers staked their claim as a legitimate opponent of the Derrick Rose-less Bulls.
The star of the show on Tuesday evening was Evan Turner, who shined in his native Chicago. Turner posted 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists, as the Sixers shot a remarkable 59 percent from the floor to knot this series at one game a piece.
Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls struggled to find any source of consistent scoring and ultimately fell to one of the Eastern Conference's most balanced teams. Despite having no inside presence, the Sixers were able to light it up from the field.
Spencer Hawes encountered early foul trouble, but his replacement, rookie Lavoy Allen, filled in admirably. Allen, who was an afterthought after the Sixers drafted center Nikola Vucevic in the first round of the NBA Draft, has been a key component of this Sixers team all season long, and he will continue to be a factor moving forward.
Not to be forgotten, Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday posted a game-high 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting. With the platoon of C.J. Watson and John Lucas guarding him, Holiday showed no hesitation.
However, the most notable statistic from Tuesday night's victory was that the Sixers out-rebounded the Bulls 38 to 32. Along with playing team defense, the biggest key for the Sixers in this series was to win the battle on the glass.
For the Bulls, Joakim Noah led all players with 21 points and showed impressive range, neutralizing Spencer Hawes with mid-range jump shots throughout the first half.
Call it good fortune or just pure luck, but a perfect storm may be brewing for the Sixers at exactly the right time.
Next up is Game 3 in Philadelphia on Friday night.
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