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Bulls-Sixers Game 3: Do or Die

Failure to win this game closes the door on the season

By Ben Bowman
|  Friday, May 4, 2012  |  Updated 9:43 AM CDT
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Bulls-Sixers Game 3: Do or Die

AP

Chicago Bulls fans hold a sign during the second quarter of Game 2 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series between the Bulls and the Philadelphia 76ers, in Chicago on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Think back six years ago. Think back and remember the Heat vs. Mavericks in the NBA Finals. The Mavs won the first two games. And it looked, for all the world, that they'd clean house and claim the trophy.

Instead, Game 3 happened. The Heat came back from 13 down with six minutes left in the game.  Miami won by two points. And something inside Dallas broke. Miami won four in a row.

You have to look at the Sixers-Bulls series in the same light. The Bulls let a big lead evaporate in the third quarter of Game 2. With no Derrick Rose, the team lacks its spark. The Bulls are going through the motions - and that gets you nothing in the postseason.

The next two games are in Philly. Ideally, the Bulls win both. A more likely scenario is another split.  That leaves it as a best-of-three. And really, this team needs to avoid must-win games like the plague.

Losing Game 3 would be critical, though. Imagine the Bulls going into Philly down 2-1. With a savvy coach like Doug Collins, the Sixers would go for the kill. And if the Bulls can't even win one in the home of the cheesesteak, you can pack up your foam fingers, kiddies.

The Bulls got complacent in Game 2. Complacent teams go home early. At this point, you're playing for pride. No one really respects this group. That should be a reason for them to bring the pain tonight.

My crystal ball says the winner of this game wins the series. Time to man up, Bulls. Go big or go home.

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