Bulls miss Rose's defense in Game 2

US Presswire

76ers guard Jrue Holiday took advantage of the Derrick Rose-less Bulls to even the series 1-1.The Chicago Bulls are used to playing without guard Derrick Rose. But at least during the second half Tuesday night, they looked like a team helpless without the 2010-2011 NBA MVP.

Out for the season after tearing his ACL in Game 1, Rose could only watch from a skybox as the Bulls were trounced by the Philadelphia 76ers after halftime in a 109-92 defeat. The 17-point loss is tied for the largest in the 34 games Chicago has played without Rose since drafting him in 2008.

The Bulls, who were 18-9 in the regular season without Rose, fared well in the opening two quarters, dominating the offensive glass to take an eight-point lead into the half. However, the team must not have been too inspired by coach Tom Thibodeau’s halftime speech.

The Sixers ran the Bulls off the court in the third quarter, outscoring them 36-14, including 11-0 on fast-break points. Philly also shot 68.2 percent from the field (to the Bulls’ 25 percent) and outrebounded them 14-5. The 22-point margin is the most the 76ers have outscored an opponent by in any playoff quarter in the last 15 seasons.

Jrue Holiday This Series
W/ Derrick Rose On/Off Court

Nobody took advantage of Rose’s absence more than Sixers guard Jrue Holiday. Holiday poured in a postseason career-high 26 points and shot 11-15 on field goals. During the series, Holiday has shot the ball nearly twice as well with Rose on the bench than when he was on the court (70.6 to 37.5).

In fact, the entire 76ers team was accurate from the floor Tuesday night. Their 59 percent shooting from the field was Philly’s highest mark in a playoff game since 2001. This number was bolstered by their dominance inside of five feet (20-27, 74.1 percent). It was the third-highest field goal percentage allowed by Chicago from that distance this season.

In their two seasons under Thibodeau, the Bulls have never allowed a team to shoot 59 percent. And Michael Jordan was still on the team the last time they let an opponent shoot that well in a playoff game (1998).

The Bulls now must head to Philadelphia with the series tied 1-1. In order to regain home-court advantage, they will need to find a way to replace Rose’s production. C.J. Watson, who started for Rose, and John Lucas were unable to do that in Game 2. Although the two combined for 27 points, they handed out just seven assists. Center Joakim Noah, who led the team with 21 points, had five assists himself.

They’re still in the series, but the Bulls will have to cool the 76ers’ red-hot shooting soon. Or else, the bloom will be off their outstanding 50-16 season.