They were unable to make any stops, and they couldn't find a rhythm on offense, either.
''We kind of let our offense affect our defense,'' Richard Hamilton said.
The Sixers were leading 68-61 midway through the quarter after a 12-0 run that Elton Brand started with a foul-line jumper. Then, after a basket by C.J. Watson, Andre Iguodala threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk over Deng for a three-point play that drew plenty of oohs, aahs and groans from a crowd that felt this one slipping away.
Things didn't get much better for Chicago after that.
The 76ers continued to pour it on, with Iguodala delivering another vicious dunk late in the quarter and then hitting Williams with an alley-oop pass that made it 83-69 heading into the fourth.
''For the first time in a long time our defense dictated our offense,'' Iguodala said. ''We rebounded the ball. Evan and myself pushed it out on the break and we finished pretty well. It started with that in the third quarter.''
It added up to a rough night for the Bulls, who were in a familiar spot with Rose sidelined again -- this time after tearing the ACL in his left knee late in Game 1.
He missed 27 games during the regular season because of a variety of ailments, and the Bulls did just fine, going 18-9. Throw in injuries to Hamilton and Deng, and they were able to go with their projected starting five just 15 times, yet they still captured homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs for the second straight season.
That's why they insist they can still make a run, even with Rose out. They won without him before. They insist their championship hopes didn't die when he went down.
''It's different (without Rose),'' Noah said. ''There's no excuses, though. We know we can play better. It's disappointing, but you know what? We live to fight another day. There's a lot of basketball to play.''
Notes: The Sixers shuffled their lineup from Game 1, with Turner starting for Jodie Meeks and C Spencer Hawes for Lavoy Allen. ... Scottie Pippen says the Bulls still are the team to beat even without Rose.