The Latest from Priority Sports
The Latest from Priority Sports
Many have tried to break down the Bulls' surprising and disheartening Game 2 loss to the 76ers at home Tuesday. A lot of analysis went into what the Bulls did wrong and what they didn't do right.
But for forward Taj Gibson, any analysis came down to just one word -- will.
"The lack of defensive play the last game was bad. But it's always going to come down to will," Gibson said We've seen each other many times this year. So it's all going to come down to will, who wants it more."
The Bulls streaked out to a 55-47 lead at halftime Tuesday night but got annihilated in the third quarter, surrendering 36 points and 68.2 percent shooting (15-for-22) to the Sixers while draining just 5-of-20 shots (25 percent) for 14 points.
Philadelphia picked up 11 fastbreak points in the third quarter alone.
"We have to adjust to the speed and quickness of the game," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said after the team's practice on Thursday.
"We just kinda slumped," Gibson said. "It happens. They got out on break and we didn't get out on transition. They capitiliazed on a lot of fastbreak points...They got a lot of offensive rebounds, a lot of kick-outs. They just beat us up on the boards really."
The Bulls dominated on the boards in the first game 47-38 and started out with a 20-16 advantage in the first half of Game 2. However, in that dreaded third quarter, the Sixers pushed the Bulls around inside and outrebounded Chicago 14-5.
Thibodeau preaches rebounding as one of the main keys to every game and his counterpart in Philadelphia, Doug Collins, took a page out of that book for Game 2. Collins fiddled with his lineup and made rebounding a point of emphasis for his team after the Sixers' loss in the series opener.
The 76ers were especially focused on trying to take away the Bulls' offensive rebounding. Chicago pulled down eight offensive boards in the first half of Game 2, but managed just two in the entire second half, a big reason for the offensive inefficiency. But Gibson wasn't ready to make excuses.
"[Offensive rebounds are] important, but we have to do other things. There's so many different aspects to helping a team win and helping us succeed," the third-year power forward said. "Offensive rebounds have been our key all year long. We're a strong rebounding team, from the bench to the starters. Not having those were big, but it's all about effort."
After dropping a demoralizing game at home, the Bulls will now have to win on the road to take the edge in the series. They have lost back-to-back games just one time since the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
"Nothing really changes," Gibson said. "Everything is still the same. We've been in this situation before last year with Atlanta in the second round. We just tend to look at it as another game that we have to play harder in and adjust in and we're just looking forward to the challenge.
"It's been tough, but we have to come with effort, play a little harder and things will be fine. It's playoffs. Nothing's easy. They just wanted it more than us last game, so we have to take it up a notch."