Chicago Bulls vs Philadelphia 76ers, Eastern Conference first-round preview, facts, and notes

This season marks the 31st appearance by the Bulls in the NBA Playoffs, and their seventh appearance in the last eight years. The Bulls have won six NBA titles (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998), the third most by an NBA franchise.

As a franchise, the Bulls have appeared in 303 playoff games and hold an all-time playoff record of 170-133 (.561). Chicago’s playoff record is the fourth-best in NBA history, trailing the Los Angeles Lakers (417-278, .600), Boston Celtics (316-231, .578) and Baltimore Bullets (9-7, .563).

At home in the playoffs, the Bulls hold an all-time postseason record of 114-39 (.745) – second among existing NBA franchises (Los Angeles Lakers: 282-92, .754). On the road in the playoffs, the Bulls own an all-time postseason record of 56-94 (.373) – fifth-best in the NBA.

This marks the third time that Chicago and Philadelphia have faced off in the playoffs. Chicago defeated Philadelphia 4-1 in the 1991 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and again in the 1991 Conference Semifinals, 4-1. The team that wins the Game 1 in a best-of-seven series has gone on to win 330 of 423 (.780) best-of-seven series. In 423 best-of-seven series, the team with home-court advantage has is 318-105 (.752).

Out of 423 best-of-seven series, 107 have gone seven games, and 59 have resulted in four-game sweeps. The Bulls are 35-26 (.574) in Game 1’s in team playoff history, including 28-6 (.824) in Game 1’s played at home. Since the NBA Playoffs current format of 16 teams was instituted in1984 postseason, the eighth-seeded team is 4-53 (.070) in series matchups, and 60-184 (.246) overall.

Only two eight seeds have defeated a one seed under the current best-of-seven series format (Golden State beat Dallas 4-2 in 2007 and Memphis beat San Antonio 4-2 in 2011).

The Bulls 2012 playoff roster has 11 holdovers from the 2011 playoff squad, including four returning starters in Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah (Richard Hamilton replaced Keith Bogans in this year’s starting five).

In the regular this year, Chicago was a combined 19-8 (.704) against all Eastern Conference playoff teams, including 2-1 versus Philadelphia. Chicago is the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference for the second year in a row, and the seventh time in team history (1991, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2011 and 2012).

Overall, Chicago has gone on to win five NBA championships as the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Richard Hamilton, Mike James (Detroit, 2004) and Brian Scalabrine (Boston, 2008) are the only players on this year’s Bulls squad who have won an NBA title.

Regular Season Series Notes

Chicago won the season series versus Philadelphia 2-1; Chicago was 1-1 against the Sixers in Philly and 1-0 versus Philadelphia in the Windy City

Last season, Philadelphia won the season series versus Chicago, 2-1; the Bulls lost just two head-to-head series last year (Philadelphia and New York)

After defeating Philadelphia in the first game of the season series 121-76, the Sixers won the last two games of the series in Philly by an average of 9.0 points

Chicago’s 45-point win last year was the largest margin of victory in team history against the 76ers

In 2009-10, Chicago won the season series, 3-1, for the first time since the
2006-07 season (2-1)

The Bulls are 3-7 versus the Sixers in overtime, most recently falling 106-103 in overtime on Feb. 3, 2010

The last time there was a series sweep in this series came in 2003-04, when the Sixers went 4-0 against the Bulls

Chicago is 32-65 all-time versus Philadelphia in the City of Brotherly Love and 54-46 in the Windy City

The Bulls have not swept the season series versus Philly since 1996-97, when they went 4-0.

Bulls vs Sixers Playoff History

The Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers meet in the NBA Playoffs for the third time in 2012. In their previous two playoff matchups, Chicago defeated
the 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 1990 (4-1), and again in the Conference Semis the following season (4-1).

Overall, the Bulls are 8-2 all-time against the 76ers in the postseason. Chicago is 6-0 against Philly in the Windy City, and 2-2 against the Sixers on the road. Following Chicago’s series win over Philadelphia in 1991, the Bulls went on to claim the first of their six NBA Championships.


Chicago set a franchise record for opponent scoring in a season allowing 88.2 ppg (also a league-best). The mark of 88.2 ppg is also the fewest points per game allowed in the NBA since 2003-04 (Detroit and San Antonio: 84.3 ppg).

Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer and Omer Asik all went through the 2011-12 season without missing a game. It marked the first time in both Boozer and Brewer’s careers that they played in every game in a single season. It also is the second straight year that Asik appeared in every game (148 in a row).

With their win 96-86 overtime win over Miami on April 12; the Chicago Bulls clinched the Central Division for the second straight season. This year’s division championship marks the ninth time in franchise history that the Bulls won their division.

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. The same year (1980), as a student assistant at Seeger Memorial High School in West Lebanon, IN, he was one of the first in the world to use, study and implement analytics in basketball. He attended Daytona State College and Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround: The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters), where he was fortunate enough to work with many rising stars, including NFL Network's Dan Hellie, Redskins coach Jay Gruden, Magic radio and TV personality Dante Marchitelli, and WSB-TV (Atlanta) Sports Director Zach Klein. In addition to running the Bullsville blog and officiating basketball, baseball and football for the KHSAA, he is also a bass player and vocalist who writes and produces music in his spare time (you may remember his internet hit "I Hate Eddy Curry"). He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. He's seen Primus 9 times and thinks Les Claypool walks on water. By far his greatest accomplishment is being a father of three and grandfather of one.

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