The Sixers are up 3-1 over the Bulls. The Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah injuries should not be discounted, but when you boil it down to the facts, that's the cold hard truth of it. Sixers 3, Bulls 1. With one more win, the Sixers will advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 9 years. Take a moment to process those words if you must.
The strangest part is that aside from Game Two, the Sixers offense has been almost entirely dreadful. There have been bright spots certainly, but aside from Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner in Game Three and Spencer Funky Buttloving Hawes yesterday, there haven't been many stellar offensive performances. The MVPs of the series have to be Rose's ACL and Noah's ankle. That's a major bummer, but you play the team across from you and Doug Collins happens to be playing a team minus its two best players.
So the Sixers will have three chances to put the Bulls away. Tuesday marks the first test. Michael Curry spoke to the team after Game Four and regaled them with the story of his top-seeded Detroit team and the 8-seed Orlando Magic. The upstart Magic jumped out to a 3-1 lead, then laid off the gas for Game Five, thinking they'd just win Game Six at home. They didn't. Game Seven went to Detroit and they executed a 3-1 to 4-3 turnaround to advance. The point is: every game is a must-win. You can't assume anything. Whether you're ahead or behind, the series isn't over until it's over. Game Five is a must-win.
Will they pull it off? It looks like the Celtics, who mauled the Hawks in Game Four, will advance to the next round. That could potentially set up a Boston/Philadelphia series. It's hard not to look ahead, but that's exactly what the young Sixers will have to do. One game at a time, kids. You know that's what Doug is texting them.