CHICAGO -- Yesterday morning, the Philadelphia 76ers bravely watched the film of their first-game debacle against the Chicago Bulls and came away believing all that stood between them and victory was a few missed shots.
Alert the academy. The film editing award is no longer up for grabs.
It is true the Sixers shot very badly against Chicago in a 105-92 defeat to open a best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series that continues tonight. But it would be fantasy to think the Bulls didn't have a lot to do with that.
The Sixers have to do more than just make shots to beat Chicago and avoid a return to the Spectrum staring down the barrel of an 0-2 deficit. They need to do everything better.
"You can't delude yourself," said Sixers coach Jim Lynam, a voice of reason. "This thing is a composite of many things to get the job done. We didn't come close to getting it done."
It would be right to say that shooting better than 37 percent is high on the list, however. Except for Charles Barkley's swim-against-the-tide 34 points, the Sixers were flaccid at the offensive end. Armon Gilliam, Hersey Hawkins and Ron Anderson combined to make 7 of 30 shots.
"Chicago didn't do anything special," Hawkins said before the Sixers practiced at the downtown Sporting Club on Sunday. "They didn't do anything different than we expected. We had a lot of open shots that we passed up and we missed other shots that we should have made. Chicago played good defense. But what happened was more our fault than theirs."
The Bulls' defense was clinging and ready from the start of the game, while the Sixers appeared to be slow and tentative against it.
"They were roller-skating and we were in quicksand," said Bob Weinhauer, the Sixers' assistant general manager.
"It was two factors," Lynam said. "They were very active and very good, and we weren't as assertive as you'd like to be. The combination of the two is a big problem."
Chicago double-teamed and occasionally triple-teamed Barkley to wear down the big forward. The Bulls dared the Sixers to kick the ball out and beat them with jump shots. A fairly good jump-shooting team, the Sixers didn't take the challenge. Their shooters tried for one extra pass or one more dribble toward the lane before getting off a shot.
"If you're getting jump shots, you should just take them and live with what happens," said Hawkins, who didn't commit a turnover despite being harassed by Michael Jordan, but didn't get open very often either.