Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/9/12

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls fought through injuries during most of the regular season, and Tuesday at United Center they shook off a few more to keep their playoff run alive.

Forward Luol Deng snapped out of an offensive slump to score 24 points and the Bulls staved off elimination by beating the Philadelphia 76ers 77-69. The Sixers lead the first-round series 3-2 and can wrap it up at home Thursday.

To say this was a defensive-minded contest would be putting it lightly. The 76ers shot 32.1 percent from the field and scored the fewest points in a first half (26) in franchise playoff history.

Guard Jrue Holiday led Philadelphia with 16 points but hit just 5-of-17 shots. Sixers All-Star forward Andre Iguodala made just 4-of-19 for 11 points.

While the Bulls lost three straight in this series, Deng never scored more than 11 points in the losses. He knocked down 10-of-19 attempts Tuesday, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Forward Carlos Boozer added 19 points and 13 rebounds.

The Bulls played without center Joakim Noah, who missed his second game with a sprained left ankle and sat on the bench in street clothes. Guard Derrick Rose, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Game 1, watched the action from a luxury suite.

There was another injury scare for the home team Tuesday night. With 2:06 left in the third quarter, forward Taj Gibson turned his right ankle while trying to defend a layup attempt by Sixers center Lavoy Allen. Gibson went to the ground grabbing his ankle and limped into the locker room.

He returned to a great ovation in the fourth quarter and finished the game. Gibson seemed to be the Bulls' emotional leader. He had four blocked shots in the first half and brought impressive energy on the defensive end. Coach Tom Thibodeau also gave defensive-minded guard Ronnie Brewer heavy minutes.

The Sixers never got closer than seven points in the second half.

The teams played a slow-moving first half, with the Bulls holding a 35-26 edge.

Philadelphia hit just 4-of-23 shots (17.3 percent) in the second quarter, when Allen led them with six points.

The Bulls also struggled offensively, but they started to open up a lead late in the second quarter. John Lucas III knocked down a 3-pointer, Boozer finished a baseline spin and Ronnie Brewer hit a driving scoop to cap a 12-3 run leading into halftime.

There was some excitement in front of the Bulls' bench late in the first half when Gibson and Philadelphia's Elton Brand wrestled on the floor for a loose ball. Neither player would stop fighting for possession and players from both sides quickly created a scrum.

After viewing the replays, the officials handed technical fouls to Gibson and Brand.

NOTES: With Noah sidelined again with a sprained left ankle, Omer Asik started at center for the Bulls for the second straight game. ... Philadelphia last won a playoff series in 2003, beating New Orleans 4-2 in the first round. The Sixers have dropped five straight playoff series since then. ... The last time a Doug Collins-coached team won a playoff series was 1989, when Collins led the Bulls to a second-round win over New York across Madison Street in the now-demolished Chicago Stadium. ... Prior to this year, No. 8 seeds had defeated No. 1 seeds four times in the first round: Denver over Seattle in 1994, New York over Miami in 1999, Golden State over Dallas in 2007 and Memphis over San Antonio in 2011.

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