Game Information: 7:30 at Wells Fargo Center. Game can be seen on CSN.
Previous Meeting: The Bulls defeated the 76ers on December 1, 93-88, in Chicago.
The 76ers enter tonight’s contest with a 12-9 record without center Andrew Bynum and have been one of the most up and down teams early on this season. They face the Central Division leading 11-9 Bulls, whose frontcourt of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng combined for 49 points and 32 rebounds in last week’s win over the Sixers. Jrue Holiday scored 23 to lead the Sixers but lack of execution haunted them late and allowed the Bulls to walk away with the victory.
Evan Turner has emerged in recent weeks and has been playing at a high level on both sides of the ball for Philadelphia. The former #2 pick is averaging 19.7 points over his last 9 games and perhaps more importantly has become a reliable outside shooter, hitting better than 45% of his three-pointers this season, putting him first on the team and 11th in the NBA. Time will tell if his hot shooting will continue or if he’ll fall back in the same shooting slumps that have plagued him thus far in his career but I got to see Turner live for the first time this season in a win over the Pistons Monday night and I think he looks like a completely different player. Tonight will be another tough test for Turner, who will be matched with Deng for most of the game.
The Sixers will also be looking from production from Nick Young, who returned and scored just three points in 17 minutes against Detroit after missing the previous four games with a hyperextended toe. Young hasn’t had the impact some were expecting this season but his offensive spark off the bench, along with that of struggling Dorell Wright, will be crucial going forward.
Injury Notes: The 76ers are still without center Andrew Bynum, who is out indefinitely with knee pain while Royal Ivey and Damien Wilkins are both questionable. The Bulls are also without their superstar as Derrick Rose continues to rehab from a torn ACL which he suffered against Philly in the playoffs last season. Shooting guard Rip Hamilton is also out with a torn plantar fascia tissue in his left foot.
Prediction: The Sixers get some revenge and win a tight one, 85-83.
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