Philadelphia 76ers (1-24) @ Chicago Bulls (13-8), 08:00pm EST, United Center
The Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently at the bottom of the barrel in the East, travel to face the Chicago Bulls, who currently sit third in the standings. The Sixers are desperate to get their second win of the season, with the team continually competing late into games, only to give up one key run that they cannot dig themselves out of.
The lack of focus was evident in their past four games, where the lowest deficit they faced at the end of the first quarter was 8 against the Toronto Raptors from yesterday’s game, but also saw one as big as 21 points against the Detroit Pistons three days ago. Last season and the beginning of this season the Sixers mostly gave up these runs in the third quarters, but need to learn to not have these runs against them at all.
There was news that Philadelphia is in talks with Mike D’Antoni to come in as Associate Head Coach to improve the offense, but no news has yet to come out after the initial release.
Chicago are on the 2-game winning streak, beating the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Clippers. Their play has been labeled as inconsistent throughout the season, with their two wins preceded by 3 straight losses. Rumors are that coach Fred Hoiberg has yet to implement his full playbook to the team, with the unfamiliarity to the new system the reason for Chicago’s troubles.
What To Watch For
Can the Sixers contain Nikola Mirotic? In their last matchup, Niko torched Philly to the tune of 20 points and was the main catalyst for the Bulls’ offense. His outside shot confounded Nerlens Noel, who should have played tighter on the perimeter, but is used to protecting the paint. Nerlens overall needs to be more comfortable defending on the perimeter with stretch 4’s becoming prominent for winning teams. He has the athleticism to keep up with anyone, but his instincts always tell him to stay near the rim; if he can stay disciplined, he can get back to the defensive monster that identified him last year.
Jahlil Okafor also struggled against Pau Gasol‘s length and veteran savvy. Pau was able to use his length to bother Jah, who was not yet able to counter with post moves. In games lately, Jahlil has been using his jump shot to great effect when facing long-limbed defenders. Hopefully his touch continues and he will have a big game against Chicago’s frontcourt.
Philadelphia has a tall task in front of them. Chicago has had their ups-and-downs this season, but are overall a talented and deep team. Getting their second win of the season will take total focus on both ends and no offensive lulls, of which Philly has been plagued by this season.
Prediction – Chicago needs to right their ship and having Philly come to their home arena is the perfect recipe for them. At the same time, Philly keeps it close and learns from their previous mistakes, but it is not enough against the talented Bulls squad.
Where To Catch The Game
- CSN Philly is broadcasting the game.
- 97.5 has the game on the radio.
- NBA League Pass is available for anyone out of market or anyone who needs to stream