The Bulls played perhaps their worst game of the season Wednesday night, getting dominated in all facets of the game during an ugly 98-82 loss in Philadelphia.
The Sixers are a good team, no doubt about it. But they came into the game getting outrebounded by their opponents on the season, and the Bulls normally win the rebounding battle by over five boards a game. But the Sixers beat the Bulls 43-37 on the boards, which to me shows a complete lack of effort on the part of the Bulls.
Rebounding is all about effort and desire, and the Bulls had neither in this game.
Things started out well enough, the Bulls led this game 15-9 almost six minutes in. But the Sixers then proceded to go on an 18-4 run, and the Bulls had no answer for the #1 defense in the league.
The 2nd quarter wasn't much better, and if Derrick Rose hadn't been 4/4 from the field in the quarter this game would have been over by halftime. Of course the way the 3rd quarter went, the Bulls probably should have just headed for New York at intermission to get ready to face the Knicks on Thursday.
The third quarter was the Bulls' worst of the season. They were outscored 26-11, outrebounded 14-9, outscored 14-0 in the paint, and their six turnovers allowed the Sixers to outscore them 11-2 on fast break points.
To his credit, Thibs had seen enough of his starters, as only Korver got off the bench in the 4th quarter. The bench did cut Philly's lead to 12 on a pair of occasions in the fourth, but this game was never in doubt.
The only Chicago starter in double-figures was Rose with 18, and the only other Bull to get there was CJ Watson. He wound up with a game-high 20 points, but 11 of those came during 4th quarter garbage time.
Outside of Rose, the other four starters combined to score 26 points on 11/30 (36.7%) shooting.
Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young led the Sixers with 19 points each.
I would list the positives from this game, but there were none. If you're desperate to look for anything good, Jimmy Butler got to play 19:21, so he got a little experience, but that's it.
The Eastern Conference standings are now incredibly close, with the Bulls being one of five teams (Sixers, Pacers, Heat and Hawks) with six losses. The Bulls have the most wins with 18, and Indiana has 15 while the other three teams have all won 16 games.
There's really not much more to say about this games, the Bulls got their butts handed to them, plain and simple. It will be very interesting to see how they respond tomorrow night when they play the lowly Knicks. The Knicks have lost 8 of their last 10 games, with the only two wins coming over Charlotte and Detroit, the two worst teams in the league.
There is no excuse for the Bulls to lose in NYC- even if Luol Deng doesn't try to play, if the Bulls come out and play defense and rebound the way they usually do, this should be a fairly easy win.
If the Bulls were to lose, I would expect coach Thibodeau to do something to shake the team up, be it a lineup change or some other adjustment to the rotation. It wouldn't shock me to see Butler starting for Korver, or CJ starting next to Rose with Brewer moving to SF.
The Bulls still have the best record in the East, as long as this game was an abberation there's no problem. But lose in NY to the Knicks? That's a different story.
I apologize for the lack of highlights, I tried to fix it and when I went to the NBA's FTP site to retrieve the audio, both the Bulls and the Sixers versions are not there. I'm assuming they are fixing the problem, not that anyone really wanted to hear the Bulls getting killed anyway...