76ers Eliminate Top-Ranked Bulls, Advance to Second Round on Iguodala’s Free Throws [Video]
The Philadelphia 76ers are headed to the second round of the 2012 NBA playoffs after stunning the top-seeded Chicago Bulls 79-78 in Game 6 on Thursday night.
Though it seemed Chicago had the game won, Bulls center Omer Asik failed to hit a pair of free throws with 7 ticks remaining on the clock — that would have put his team up by 3 points — giving the Sixers just enough time to stamp an end to the first-round playoff series.
On Asik’s second miss, 76ers star Andre Iguadola snatched the rebound, dribbled the length of the floor and was fouled by Asik with 2.2 seconds left. Iguodala made both free throws putting his team up one point, and guard C.J. Watson’s heave from half court hit the back of the rim and fell to the floor at the buzzer.
“What this means to me and the organization and our team is just off the charts,” said 76ers coach Doug Collins in a post-game interview. “I don’t know how we won. We just found a way.”
While congratulations are, no doubt, in order for 76ers, many will view the team’s series win with an asterisk, as the Bulls were without stars Derrick Rose (torn ACL) and Joakim Noah (sprained ankle) for nearly the entire first round.
Even then, the remaining Bulls’ players were confident with their chances against Philly in the series.
“I thought we had more than enough to win with,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said in a post-game interview. “I’m disappointed in the loss but I’m not disappointed in our team.”
Chicago forward Taj Gibson added:
“I really thought we’d take it back to Chicago.”
Instead, the 76ers will face Boston, which beat Atlanta in six games, in the conference semifinals.
The 76ers, with their first postseason series victory since 2003, became the fifth No. 8 seed to win a first-round series against a No. 1 seed in the NBA playoffs. ESPN writes that Memphis eliminated San Antonio last season, and Golden State (2007), New York (1999) and Denver (1994) also pulled off the rare feat.
Check out highlights from the Chicago Bulls vs Philadelphia 76ers game 6 in the video below: