But oh, did the Bulls miss Rose on defense.
Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams combined for 46 points and 12 assists, and Rose's old high-school sparring partner Evan Turner added 19 points from the off-guard position against ten from the Bulls' Rip Hamilton as the Sixers won the first Rose-less game 109-92 to even the series going back to Philly.
Rose, who blew out his knee at the end of the first victory, ending his season, fired the Bulls up by limping onto the court to present the game ball at the start Tuesday night at the United Center, to chants of "MVP! MVP!" from the fans. Unfortunately, the Bulls went about proving just how valuable he is to them.
Rubbing the Bulls' noses in it, Turner placed the ball on the floor and simply let the 24-second clock run out in the waning moments of the 109-92 drubbing as fans continued to boo him.
The Bulls had the game in hand at halftime. They led 55-47 on 14 points from Joakim Noha and 11 from Lucas off the bench spelling Watson at Rose's point-guard position.
Yet the ominous sign was that Holiday had 17 at intermission, and in the second half the Sixers' guards ran roughshod over the Bulls. The Sixers outscored the Bulls 36-14 in the third quarter, as the Bulls' point guards—whoever was handling the ball—tended to dribble around and put up their own (missed) shots, leading to long rebounds and Philly fast breaks. It was punctuated at the end of the frame when Williams utterly lost Lucas on a back cut for an alley-oop jam to make it 83-69 Philly.
It only got worse after that, but let the record show that Mayor Rahm Emanuel stayed to the bitter end before scurrying out. That's all Chicago fans had to hang their hats on where this one was concerned.