76ers-Bulls Preview

Philadelphia 76ers Status Check:
Record: 22-15
Division: 1-2
Conference: 16-5
Home Record: 14-7
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Streak: Won 1
Last game: 105-88 win over Golden State
PPG: 94.2 (17th)
Opponents PPG: 87.0 (1st)
Offensive Rating: 104.4 (11th)
Defensive Rating: 96.4 (1st)
Pace: 89.8 (25th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .484 (14th)
Turnover Percentage: .104.4 (1st)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .745 (6th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .230 (29th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .161 (30th)
Opp. eFG%: .446 (1st)
Opp. TO%: .144 (10th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .187 (7th)
Leading scorer: Lou Williams (15.7)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

76ers Injury Report:
Spencer Hawes: will miss two weeks (strained Achilles)

Overview:
Chicago takes the best record in the league and a five game winning streak against the Atlantic leading 76ers, a team the Bulls have struggled against recently. The Sixers have taken three straight from Chicago dating back to last season.

Philly was just 6-9 in the month of February though, cooling from their 13-4 January record. They did have a pretty tough schedule last month, facing Miami, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, both Los Angeles teams, Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte to name a few (just kidding about the last one). This tough schedule translates to Philly’s 2-6 record over their last eight games.

They did get their most recent win against the Bulls early in February, a 16 point victory. Every Chicago starter (Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer started in place of Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton) recorded a plus-minus worse than -11. Derrick Rose was the only starter to score double figures for Chicago (18).

And it didn’t get that much better when you went to the bench. C.J. Watson scored a game-high 20 points, but it was on 6-14 shooting. The rest of the bench combined for 18 points.

Philly had six players in double figures, led by Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young (19 each). Lavoy Allen came up big as well, scoring 15 points (7-10 from the field) to go with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Allen is averaging 5.3 points per game on the season.

Chicago got dominated in the paint, and was outscored 46-28 down there. The Bulls also had six fewer assists and four fewer rebounds than Philly.

The Bulls will need to hold on to the ball if they want to win tonight. Philly is tops in the league in turnover percentage (.104), way ahead of second place San Antonio (.129).

The 76ers won the turnover battle in the first matchup, forcing 17, while only surrendering ten of their own. Philly scored 29 points off Chicago’s 17 turnovers, while the Bulls only netted ten points off the Sixers ten turnovers.

The Sixers turn the ball over just 10.6 times per game, three less than any other team in the league. Chicago is fourth in turnovers per game at 14.0.

Just as Chicago shuts down opponents in the United Center, Philly’s defense comes alive in the Wells Fargo Center. Philly allows just 83.9 points at home, compared to (a still stingy) 91.1 on the road. Philly is 14-7 at home on the year.

These numbers lead the Sixers to have the top defensive rating in the league (96.4), followed closely by second place Chicago (97.7). Philadelphia is also tops in opponent effective field goal percentage (.446), while Chicago is in third in this category (.453).

The Bulls have another tough opponent Monday night in the Pacers. Chicago has to be careful not to be looking forward to that one. But since Rose and the Bulls hate losing, they should be pretty focused on the 76ers and getting revenge for earlier this season.

Coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t see this as a problem either: “Our guys’ attitude has been great all season. In this league, you get in trouble if you feel good about a win you had in the last game or you look ahead to another opponent. That’s when you get hurt. You have to concentrate on what’s in front of you. Being ready is the big thing.”

The Bulls need to be ready to stop the Sixers. There is a good chance Chicago could see Philadelphia in the playoffs in the second round (as of right now they would). The Bulls need to stop this three game losing streak and gain some confidence against a Philly team they haven’t beaten in more than a year.

Battle of the boards: According to STATS LLC, the Bulls are 5-5 when they get outrebounded and 24-2 when they win the rebounding battle. The boards are more important than most thought from Chicago. The Sixers are 29th in offensive rebounding percentage and 6th in defensive rebounding percentage.

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