Game Five is a bigger issue than I think some of us (primarily myself) are giving it credit. Maybe it's because the Sixers have won three straight. Maybe it's because the Bulls are playing without Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. Or maybe the playoffs have inserted a mind-control chip into the back of my head like in Scott Pilgrim. But it's a pretty big deal, as clinching games often are.
Especially for the young Sixers. They've played -- let's face it -- pretty bad basketball this series, especially from the offensive end, where shots rarely fall and three's are about as rare as a Marreese Speights pass now that Jodie Meeks plays sparingly. Doug Collins has benefited greatly from the Bulls losing both of their best players and the fact that Andre Iguodala can still lock down Luol Deng despite his bum Achilles. For our own selfish purposes, the series has been great for Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, but the *team* hasn't played well at all. The Bulls have just played worse. Oh and Spencer Hawes.
Confidence is huge with this bunch as they've yet to win a playoff series. Even Iguodala, in his 7th year in Philly, has never won a series. Even Elton Brand has only won *one* series his whole career. There's not a ton of close-out empirical evidence with these guys, so the sooner they can shut it down, the better. Chicago has won 3 games in a row 57 times in the past two seasons. The last thing they want to do is let the Bulls get any footing on their way into the abyss under the Bridge of Khazad Dum.
Because if the Sixers lose tonight, then Game Six is essentially a do-or-die. There is NO WAY this team goes to Chicago for a Game Seven after losing two straight and pulls it out. Won't happen. No shot in hell. Game Six will at least be at home, but even then, it'll be our backs against the wall. This half of a Bulls team has nothing to lose. It'd be nice to win it in front of a hugely amped Wells Fargo Center crowd, but they can't think that way.
Don't let it get that far. Don't "Sixers" this series. Just win tonight and see if Boston finishes off Atlanta. Throttle up, kids. We've got a game to win.