Bulls-Sixers Game One Preview

Philadelphia 76ers Status Check:
Record: 35-31
Division: 7-6
Conference: 28-20
Road Record: 16-17
Home Record:19-14
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Streak: Lost 1
Last game: 108-86 loss to Detroit
PPG: 93.6 (22nd)
Opponents PPG: 89.4 (3rd)
Offensive Rating: 103.9 (20th)
Defensive Rating: 99.2 (3rd)
Pace: 89.7 (24th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .480 (19th)
Turnover Percentage: .109 (1st)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .752 (4th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .244 (25th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .161 (30th)
Opp. eFG%: .460 (3rd)
Opp. TO%: .138 (15th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .192 (8th)
Leading scorer: Lou Williams (14.9)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Season Match-ups: Bulls win season series 2-1
February 1-Sixers win 98-82
Top Performers: Andre Iguodala (19 points, 9 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (17 points, 5 assists)
Derrick Rose (18 points, 6 assists) and CJ Watson (20 points, 4 assists)
March 4- Bulls win 96-91
Top Performers: Derrick Rose (35 points, 8 assists) and Joakim Noah (11 points, 18 rebounds)
Elton Brand (14 points, 13 rebounds) and Thaddeus Young (17 points, 9 rebounds)
March 17- Bulls win 89-80
Top Performers: CJ Watson (20 points) Joakim Noah 13 points, 11 rebounds)
Jrue Holiday (30 points, 5 assists)

Philadelphia Injury Report:
Andre Iguodala: probable (strained right hamstring)

Overview:
The Bulls once again claimed the number one overall seed in the playoffs, and the home-court advantage that comes with that. But now the real season begins.

For a while, the Sixers looked like the third best team in the East, behind the Heat and Bulls. But they went just 15-17 after the All Star Break, including 6-8 in April (although some of that might have been resting to get the Bulls instead of Miami in round one). Before the Break, Philly was giving up 87.5 points per game. After All Star weekend that number jumped to 91.4, while Philly’s scoring totals fell as well.

The Sixers are still a very scary team, with one of the top defenses in the league. Philly was tops in defensive rating for most of the season, and finished a still impressive third in that category (99.2).

The biggest question surrounding this series, at least for Bulls fans, will be the health of Derrick Rose. Rose played in just five games in April, and shot 32.1 percent in those games. With the addition of Rip Hamilton, Rose’s scoring load is less than it was last season, but the Bulls won’t get far with Rose shooting that poorly.

Rose shot 46.1 percent before the All-Star Break and just 39.3 percent after it. The fact that he isn’t playing much, and when he is in the line-up, he isn’t playing very well, is scary for the Bulls title hopes.

He sat out the final game of the season, to give him more rest and probably in fear of him injuring another part of his body. But that rest will be a trade-off for rust. Rose missed 27 games over the season. According to Tom Thibodeau, Rose looked good in Friday’s walkthrough (I don’t know for sure, but I think the Sixers are going to be moving a little faster than a “walkthrough”).

And while the Sixers might not have been great in April, going 6-8, the Bulls weren’t a whole lot better. They went 8-5 over the last month of the season.

The Bulls biggest issue was obviously injuries. The projected starting line-up coming into this season (Rose-Hamilton-Deng-Boozer-Noah) started just 15 games together. They won 13 of those games, which is a great sign if they can stay healthy in the playoffs though.

Even if the starters aren’t feeling it, the Bulls have one of the best benches in the league to back them up. CJ Watson has had success against the Sixers this season, filling in for Derrick Rose, averaging 16.3 points in the three regular season match-ups.

Jrue Holiday had success of his own, especially against Watson. Holiday averaged 21 points per game against Chicago, and scored 30 points in the one game Watson started in place of Rose.

In April, Kyle Korver is shooting 46.4 percent from three and averaging 9.7 points per game. The Bulls will need Korver’s scoring spark off the bench, to match Lou Williams coming off the bench for Philly (14.9 points per game).

Walking of the Bulls: Philly averaged 19.3 fast break points per game in the three match-ups, while the Bulls averaged just 7.0 per contest.

3 Responses to Bulls-Sixers Game One Preview

  1. anthony.paro@gmail.com'
    Anthony April 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Worst. Decision. Ever.

    Rose cannot have wanted that triple-double so badly that he would jeopardize the entire postseason. Responsibility lies with Thibs — what were you thinking!?

  2. prosper.guard@gmail.com'
    Mike April 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    I feel horrible, which I’m sure is shared by many. Thibs is going to take a lot a heat and I wish I could say he doesn’t deserve it. I wonder what the fallout will be.

    I felt like the Bulls had a real shot to win it this year. The injury makes me wonder if Rose will ever be the same player. I know a lot of guys come back fine but this just fucked.

  3. Sonny April 29, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    Thibs is a coach of the highest caliber, but he will catch a decent amount flack for keeping Rose in.

    Is it really his fault, though? I wouldn’t go so far as to say that. His rotation and minute allotment has been this way for some time; it was just an unfortunate turn of events that could’ve happened just as easily in the 1st quarter… or the 3rd (see: Iman Shumpert).

    Either way, I feel for the Bulls fanbase. Rough outing for a great team. But if any coach could pull through with a star-less team, it’ll be Thibs.

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