Sixers-Bulls Preview

Philadelphia 76ers Status Check:
Record: 10-6
Division: 3-2
Conference: 5-5
Road Record: 4-2
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Streak: Won 3
Last game: 104-98 win over Charlotte
PPG: 93.4 (26th)
Opponents PPG: 94.0 (7th)
Offensive Rating: 102.4 (22nd)
Defensive Rating: 103.1 (11th)
Pace: 90.6 (25th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .474 (21st)
Turnover Percentage: .121 (2nd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .731 (12th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .242 (24th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .176 (27th)
Opp. eFG%: .482 (13th)
Opp. TO%: .145 (10th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .198 (11th)
Leading scorer: Jrue Holiday (18.0)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

76ers Injury Report:
Andrew Bynum: out (knees)

Overview:
So it turns out Chicago still has a bench this season. Who knew?

One game after Tom Thibodeau played only eight guys and barely rested the starters; he used seven guys off the bench to beat the Mavericks. And those reserves played a huge role in getting the win. Jimmy Butler, Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli each scored in double figures and Robinson and Belinelli combined to go 4-5 from downtown. Taj Gibson didn’t shoot well (3-7 for 8 points) but recorded a team best plus/minus at +35. The Bulls bench outscored Dallas’ 50-34.

It wasn’t just the bench though. Luol Deng scored a game-high 22 points and Joakim Noah continued his journey to fill as many categories in the box score as possible. He finished with 13 points, ten rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

After two good games in a row, Carlos Boozer and Rip Hamilton crashed back down to earth—hard. Rip, who was coming off a career high in points as a member of the Bulls, scored just four against the Mavericks. He had five turnovers. Thank gosh Marco Belinelli stepped up, just as we always assumed he would.

And Boozer, didn’t add much more, by scoring just six points. Both Boozington and Rip played just 18 minutes in the game. The Bulls held Dallas to 34.6 percent shooting and grabbed 14 more rebounds.

After playing the Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki, the Bulls luck out again. The Sixers don’t have, and technically have never had, their new star. Andrew Bynum is out indefinitely with knee problems. That trade isn’t working out great for Philly so far.

Philly got Jason Richardson in that deal as well, who is averaging 12.3 points on 42.7 percent shooting. Those numbers are down from career averages of 17.5 points and 44.0 percent shooting.

But the Sixers are 10-6, after beating the Bobcats last night. Evan Turner led the way with 25 points (on 10-15 shooting) and ten rebounds. Jrue Holiday was dropping dimes like he had a hole in his pocket. He finished with a career-high 15 assists to go with 13 points. Jason Richardson pitched in 22 points and the Sixers shot 51.2 percent as a team.

Philly has a very good record, but still sit at third in the newly improved Atlantic Division.

And even with a good start, the Sixers have been struggling a bit on offense. They are 22nd in offensive rating (102.4) and 21st in effective field goal percentage (.474). Philly has done better as of late, and have scored 100 points in five of their last six games. The Bulls’ offense has been allergic to putting the ball in the basket at many times this season, but Chicago still ranks a tiny bit better in offensive rating (20th, 102.8). They are worse in effective field goal percentage (.463, 24th).

Both defenses (Bulls are 4th in defensive efficiency and Philly is 11th) will probably give the offenses lots of trouble.

A big part of Philly’s success has been holding onto the ball. The Sixers have the second best turnover percentage in the league, turning it over on 12.1 percent of their possessions. One man’s strength is another’s weakness, as the Bulls turn it over 14.7 percent of the time, or 22nd worst in the league.

Sixers are 2-2 with no rest. They played in Charlotte last night before flying to Chicago. Philly is 4-2 on the road, while the Bulls are still just .500 (4-4) at home where they once seemed almost unbeatable.

This is the first time the teams have met since Philadelphia knocked the Bulls out of the playoffs. There should be some Bulls that want revenge for that first-round exit.

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