Originally written on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 5/5/12

And with a last-second Kyle Korver brick, the Sixers have arrived.

Game 3 in Philadelphia was a hard-fought battle on both sides. While the game was close all the way through, this Philadelphia 76ers did something tonight that seemed almost unfathomable through most of the season… They closed out a close game. Hey buckle down on defense, buried a few clutch shots and hit free throws in key spots to finish off the Bulls at a final score of 79-74. Not only does the outcome of this matchup give the Sixers a 2-1 lead in the series, but it really could spark some defensive play akin to what we saw in the opening stretch of the season. Holding Chicago to 74 points is not an easy task.

I can’t get enough praise to the young core of this team. Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday displayed what Sixer fans should expect for years to come. Hawes went off for 21 points and 9 rebounds, including going 6/6 from the stripe and burying his only three point attempt. Turner and Jrue combined for 33 points and 12 boards, with Holiday also providing six assists. That is the kind of production you want to see out of your future superstars. Showing up for big games is something that could propel them into becoming a contender in the East.

The Bulls gritted their teeth through injury to their most high-energy player in Joakim Noah, who twisted his ankle and spent half the game limping for rebounds. You can’t knock his passion, but you can question the decision of the Bulls coaching staff to allow him on the court in that situation. Doug Collins said in his post game that he believed fatigue played a role in Chicago’s slipping down the stretch. Just from watching, I would be inclined to agree. Missing Rose to a torn ACL is bad enough, but when you also factor in Joakim Noah’s injury halfway through the game, you really shorten an already weak Chicago bench.

While Some around the country may just view this series as an injury plagued Chicago team shooting themselves in the foot, I see a Sixers team capitalizing on an incredible opportunity. Let’s face it, Chicago isn’t the only team dealing with banged up players. Lou Williams has been hurt most of the second half of the season and Andre Iguodala, our perennial All-Star, is basically playing on one leg. While neither of these players can be compared to Derrick Rose, they hold the same roles on our team.

If the Sixers can go out on Sunday and pull off one more victory on home court, they can put this series in a stranglehold. Chicago is already on their heels and doubting their ability to compete with the players that remain healthy on their squad. Going up 3-1 in a series that most believe the Sixers would suffer a sweep could really be a nail in the coffin for the Bulls. The Wells Fargo Centerwill be rocking on Sunday. Let’s hope this young and exciting team can send that crowd home happy.

Similar Posts:

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