The Bulls' calling card under Tom Thibodeau has always been their suffocating defense. It's what they hang their hat on.
With their backs against the wall Tuesday, the Bulls leaned on the strongest part of their game, shutting the Sixers down in arguably their best defensive performance of the series.
Chicago held the Sixers to just 28.6 percent shooting and 26 points in the first half and only surrendered 69 points total on 32.1 percent shooting. Philadelphia shot just 4-of-23 (17.4 percent) in the second quarter.
"You have to give them credit," Sixers coach Doug Collis said. "They're a great, great defensive team...The last three games, we've been incredibly offensively challenged. The two games in Philly, we made just enough shots to win.
"That's one of the reasons why they're able to win with injuries is because their defense always gives them a chance.
"One thing I've always understood in this business -- if you don't play well, credit your opponent. It's usually becuase they force you not to play well."
The Sixers rattled off three straight wins after Collins inserted second-year playmaker Evan Turner into the starting lineup as the shooting guard. The Chicago native averaged almost 15 points per contest in Games 2-4, but managed just 4 points Tuesday night on 2-of-7 shooting.
A big reason for that was Ronnie Brewer's resurgence after playing sparingly in the first four games of the series. The 6-foot-7 swingman found his groove again in Game 5, playing almost 30 minutes and locking Turner down.
"That's what these playoffs are about. All the sudden, you start moving some pieces around and you start liking different matchups," Collins said. "It's not like we don't know what they're trying to do to us.
"It's nice when that ball goes in that basket. You're sitting over there as the coach and thinking 'how do I get us a basket?' Sometimes, you feel a little helpless...We had some shots and just didn't make them."
Sixers power forward Elton Brand echoed his coach's statements.
"They weren't the No. 1 defensive and rebounding team in the regular season for no reason," Brand said. "They play really good defense...I think we had some open shots, we just need to knock them down."