Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Sixers-Bulls: Expect New Starters For Both In Game 2

Going into game 2 of this best of seven, colossal changes in the outlook of the series after game 1 will result in lineup changes for both teams. Derrick Rose‘s injury provides the impetus for Chicago’s lineup change, while struggles and surges are the cause for the Sixers.

Expect C.J. Watson to replace Rose in the Chicago lineup. Watson started 25 of the 27 games Rose missed, the other two being games Watson also sat out to injury. As a starter, he shot only 35% from the field but 38.5% from beyond the arc, along with 4.6 assists and 11.3 total points per game in just under 30 minutes. Obviously, the 35% isn’t good, but the volume of threes and free throws attempted offsets the low percentages partially.

For the Sixers, Lavoy Allen has apparently earned another start. He didn’t play poorly but was injured, suffering a sprained thumb. As for any other possible changes, here’s Collins via Martin Frank of the Delaware News Journal (on Twitter):

Collins on whether Turner is going to start Game 2: “You know I’m not going to answer that.” #Sixers. (count on it).

The “(count on it”) was Frank’s addition, but I happened to agree with the assumption that Evan Turner would start. He started the second half against the Bulls in game 1, so a starting role seemed imminent. Especially since he also gave Lavoy a vote of confidence earlier, when asked whether he would start yesterday.

Of course, Jrue Holiday then let the cat out of the bag, confirming what we thought. Turner will indeed start tomorrow, provided he wasn’t lying about defensive assignments. From the Philadelphia Daily News’ Bob Cooney:

Asked if Watson was his assignment to guard, Holiday said, “No, that’s Evan. I’m on Rip (Hamilton) tomorrow.”

That little sentence was telling. Earlier when asked who would be starting tomorrow, Collins laughed, telling reporters that he wasn’t going to answer that, which was his same response on Sunday. With Jodie Meeks so ineffective in Game One and a good performace by Evan Turner, the assumption is that Turner will get the starting nod. Holiday’s comment seemed to cement that.

Now, does Turner make the lineup demonstratively better? That’s the million dollar question. Turner himself performed better in the starting five than off the bench, but the team struggled while he started. Much of that was not going to Turner as the focal point of the offense once Spencer Hawes returned from injury. At this point Hawes has made himself near irrelevant, so this problem has somewhat gone away. Defensively, it makes sense too. Though Jrue wasn’t smart to reveal this, it makes sense that he’d match up with Rip Hamilton. Turner isn’t the best off-the-ball defender; he’s much better as a one-on-one guy. And this defensive alignment paid off against the Celtics, who have the best off-ball guard in the NBA in Ray Allen.

Rose’s injury opens up this possibility for the Sixers, so there’s another problem for the Bulls. And if Turner can play well, game 2 can definitely become a Sixers win.

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Tags: C.J. Watson Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose Evan Turner Featued Jrue Holiday Ray Allen Rip Hamilton Spencer Hawes

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