Tragedy for the Bulls: Up three with under 30 seconds to go, Chicago snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and saw themselves get knocked out by the No. 8-seeded Sixers.
C.J. Watson had the ball after a Thaddeus Young layup made it a one-point game. He streaked across halfcourt and found himself in space. He took some contact, but no whistle blew. Rather than dribble until someone fouled him, Watson dumped the ball off to Omer Asik. Watson is an 80-percent free throw shooter. Asik is a 48-percent free throw shooter. Asik had looked the hero with his defense and a dunk to put the Bulls up three, but he bricked the pair, and Andre Iguodala drove the length of the court until Asik fouled him, giving him the chance to hit two free throws for the win.
Carlos Boozer kind of says it all:
Earlier, things had looked bleak for the Bulls, who missed their first five field goals of the second half and soon found themselves down 12. Then, their defense began to dominate. Joakim Noah might have been out, but the Bulls still boasted a long front line with Asik, Taj Gibson and Luol Deng. This bunch kept the Sixers from penetrating, forcing guys like Louis Williams, Jrue Holiday and Spencer Hawes -- yes Spencer Hawes -- into taking ugly threes or making them do things like this:
That held the Sixers to only 15 third quarter points. Plus, Boozer -- who was a horrendous 1-for-11 -- stayed on the bench while Richard Hamilton filled it up. But Iguodala knocked down some bailout jumpers and willed the Sixers back into the game. Then, that stuff with Asik happened, and now the series is over.
This is brutal for Bulls fans. To go from being the best team in the NBA to losing your star player to a heart-rending elimination in two weeks is more than one should have to handle.
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