Players to watch

76ERS: Center

Spencer Hawes

Can he make it three games in a row with more than 20 points? The 7-foot-1 Hawes picked up the scoring slack Sunday when the other Sixers were throwing up bricks, and coach Doug Collins wants him to keep it up for this game. An unlikely scoring threat from the perimeter, Hawes hit the go-ahead 20-footer late in Game 3 and nailed seven of his first eight shots in Sunday's Game 4. Is he the answer to the Sixers' big-man woes?

BULLS: Forward

Carlos Boozer

Forced to play without injured frontcourt teammate Joakim Noah, Boozer played through foul trouble and still racked up 23 points and 11 rebounds in Game 4. But he did have an inside shot blocked by Andre Iguodala late in the game and then committed a critical unforced turnover. He needs to score like that - and avoid the mistakes - for the Bulls to force a Game 6.

Three keys to the game


The Bulls have got to get to the free throw line more in Game 6. The Sixers shot 31 foul shots on Sunday, while the Bulls managed just 14. Maybe the officials did give the Sixers all the breaks on Sunday, but the Bulls' big men need to find a way to turn that around. Forwards Boozer and Luol Deng each took only one free throw in a combined 74 minutes in Game 4.


Iguodala did a great job Sunday of shaking off his nagging Achilles tendon soreness and playing defense like a champ. He made three key steals, and his smart play inside was a big reason Boozer and Deng did not get to the foul line more. The Sixers would like that kind of play to rub off on A.I.'s teammates.


The Bulls had better find a way to defend Hawes. If Boozer, Deng, and center Omer Asik can't get out to the perimeter to pressure, Hawes on his jump shots, the other Bulls sure can't sky high enough to do much.

- John N. MitchellEndText