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Game 3: Sixers 79, Bulls 74

5 May 2012

Three Stars (leaderboard)
1. Rip Hamilton: 17 points (.419 TS%), 6 rebounds, 7 assists
2. Joakim Noah: 12 points (.685 TS%), 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, immeasurable heart
3. Carlos Boozer: 18 points (.529 TS%), 10 rebounds, 2 steals

In the increasingly possible event that this once promising season ends in the first round, I hope Bulls fans don’t turn on these players in anger.

With the occasional exception of Carlos Boozer, this is a group that gives everything they have, nearly every minute, quarter and game. I’m more sad than angry about the way this series is playing out with Derrick Rose gone, Joakim Noah probably gone and Luol Deng exhausted or injured or simply in a funk.

I mean, did you see how hard Noah tried to keep playing after folding his left ankle at a 90-degree angle? He went down screaming … and stayed in, and kept trying for a minute before limping off … and came back, and tried again, looking even worse than before.

He looked like a horse that needed to be put down, trying to run on a broken leg.

It was heart-breaking, honestly, but it confirmed my belief that this is a special group and this has been a special season, no matter how they go out in the playoffs. Which might be soon.

Box Score

Series: Sixers lead, 2-1
Next: Game 4, Sunday 5/6 at Philadelphia, 12:00 CT

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