PHILADELPHIA — The Bulls kept saying two games of mostly off-kilter execution shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Perhaps blowing a 20-point lead to a team predicted to be bad with a capital B might justify some worry.
Similarly, when Derrick Rose isn’t even the best No. 1 on the court, some brow furrowing might ensue.
The upstart 76ers now can claim the Heat and Bulls as victims after their 107-104 comeback triumph at Wells Fargo Center. And beyond rookie Michael Carter-Williams outplaying Rose, Rose’s third straight poor shooting night and eight turnovers placed him in the spotlight for atypical reasons
Five of Rose’s turnovers came in the final 7 minutes, 59 seconds and, after missing 10 of 14 shots, Rose is shooting 28.8 percent on the young season.
“I’m not playing well right now,” Rose said. “But I’m going to have that breakthrough game.”
Pushing the ball aggressively in transition in the first half, the Bulls appeared to be having their own. But multiple defensive breakdowns that will threaten to wear out the rewind button on Tom Thibodeau’s remote control allowed the 76ers to score a staggering 58 second-half points.
The 76ers closed the third with a 25-8 run. Carter-Williams finished with 26 points and 10 assists.
“I don’t think he’s playing poorly,” Thibodeau said of Rose. “I think our team is playing poorly right now. We have issues we have to correct. We have to get into the gym and work our way out of it.”
The Bulls led 104-102 on Rose’s 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 12 seconds left before Evan Turner tied it. Then Rose, who typically owns the fourth quarter, melted down. He fired a cross-court pass intended for Deng into the 76ers’ bench. After Turner split two free throws, Rose dribbled into another turnover.
“I’d blame (Saturday night) on me,” Rose said. “Turnovers, missed shots, miscommunication on defense.
“The missed shots I could deal with, but the turnovers, we couldn’t afford them. (It’s) me just doing too much, overthinking the play where I easily could’ve dropped the ball to (Carlos Boozer) or Jo (Noah).”
With the Bulls still down one, Deng missed a contested 3-pointer with 30 seconds left. Carter-Williams drew the defense before feeding Spencer Hawes, who beat the shot clock buzzer with a 17-footer with 5.9 seconds left.
“Our defense is all based on trust,” Noah said. “We have to trust each other more.”
Deng, who scored 20 points to Boozer’s 22, missed another 3-point attempt. Jimmy Butler tied up the 76ers on the rebound but the ensuing jump ball bled into the final buzzer.
“We’ll be all right,” Boozer said. “I know everybody is making a big deal about it but we have guys who work hard together. We’ll keep sharing the ball. We’ve been getting good shots. They’re going to fall in. We have a lot of talent on this roster and our intentions are coming from the right place.”