Derrick Rose drew a standing ovation from the United Center crowd as he hobbled to midcourt to present the game ball to the officials.
Rose, of course, would rather being giving the ball to Carlos Boozer for an easy basket, but not even the magical kid could manage that with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee that blew up this postseason.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said his team would have to replace Rose’s greatness with “collective greatness.’’
Or maybe he said “collective badness in a third quarter that made you want to rip your eyes out.’’
The Sixers destroyed all that the Bulls were proud of --- rebounding and defense. The smaller Sixers pounded the boards for a 14-5 advantage in the third quarter and shot better than 65 percent, many of them on runouts after the Bulls were one-and-done.
The Bulls spent the second half getting outworked and outhustled. They wouldn’t or couldn’t get back on defense. They had a better chance of getting windburn.
“The bottom is to fight,’’ Thibodeau said.
Closing with a 10-1 run, the Sixers ripped the Bulls 36-14 in the decisive period. I don’t know what Thibodeau said at halftime, but he might want to skip it next time.
Philadelphia continued the assault in the fourth quarter. Some guy named Lavoy Allen had outscored the Bulls in the first four minutes.
Where do you start with the ugliness of this 109-92 mess?
Philadelphia ended up shooting 59 percent from the floor, the worst defensive performance by the Bulls this season. That’s a good place to start. Or maybe a bad place. You get the idea.
The Sixers torched the Bulls for 25 points on the fastbreak. The Bulls knew the Sixers wanted to run, but they did nothing about it in the second half. Heck, the Bulls did nothing, period, in the second half, getting shredded 62-37.
Jrue Holliday killed the Bulls, hitting 10 of his first 11 shots and finishing with a career-best 26 points. Worse, the Sixers backcourt outscored the Bulls guards 65-37. They said C.J. Watson wouldn’t replace Rose, and unfortunately, they were right.
To think, the Bulls led by eight at halftime. No lie. True thing. Joakim Noah poured in 14 and John Lucas III scored 11.
Sixers coach Doug Collins had implored his team to withstand the opening emotional surge he expected from the Rose-less Bulls. The Sixers indeed withstood it, and it turned out the Bulls were the ones who couldn’t play through the emotion. They were drained and dead after the first half. They had no pace to their offense in the second half, no ferocity on defense, no chance.
This win-one-for-Derrick stuff needs some work.