Players to watch

76ERS: Lavoy Allen

He has been both a reserve and a starter in two games, yet the shuffling has not bothered the rookie center/forward. Allen has grabbed a team-high 15 rebounds through Games 1 and 2 and gives the Sixers much-needed muscle under the boards. If he can continue to provide a physical presence, the underdog's chances of pulling off the upset increase.

BULLS: C.J. Watson

The guard has been solid all season when he has had to fill in for injured Derrick Rose. His defense on Jrue Holiday has to be better than it was in Game 2, when Holiday went 11 for 15 from the floor and scored a game-high 26 points, handed out six assists, and didn't commit a turnover.

Three keys to the game


Bulls' missing persons. Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer combined to make 7 of 22 field goals and score 17 points in Game 2. Deng is battling injured tendons in his left hand and showed signs of life in Game 1, when he went for 17 points. They are players capable of big contributions, and their performances can sway the game and the series.


Avoid a letdown. Too often during the regular season the 76ers have played uninspired basketball in big games against bad opponents such as New Jersey and Toronto. The Bulls are formidable even without Rose and will try early to kill the Sixers' will to play.


Defend the perimeter. It quickly became clear that Watson and John Lucas III don't see the floor anywhere near as well as Rose does, especially on switches and entry passes. Holiday, Evan Turner, and Lou Williams must continue to make it difficult for both to execute the offense and thus hinder the Bulls' inside-out preference of play.

- John Mitchell