Bulls @ 76ers 6pm on CSN

Bulls @ 76ers 6pm on CSN

The Chicago Bulls have two marquee games on this road trip. They lost the first in Miami, and the second is tonight against the 76ers. The 76ers present many of the challenges they struggle most with and have played exceptionally well this season.

Walking wounded update

Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng with both miss tonight's game. Richard Hamilton will sit until further notice and the Bulls have described the period to be "until he's fully healthy". They don't want him to continue to re-aggravate the injury.

Luol Deng might play tomorrow against the Knicks, but I'm going to go ahead and say that the gap between today and tomorrow probably isn't enough that he plays. Either way, fans can probably expect Deng back before Hamilton.

Keys to the game

How to solve the defense?

The 76ers have an extremely athletic defense, particularly around the perimeter. With the Bulls short on perimeter options and the 76ers likely to blitz Rose all night long with double teams, Chicago will need to find an answer to outlet the ball to and find an open look.

Kyle Korver will obviously space the floor and should play big minutes again. The Bulls best outlets will probably be to throw to Brewer on the baseline or Noah/Boozer at the top of the key. Chicago will need to make a concerted effort to make multiple quick passes to overcome the quick recovery time of the Philly defense.

Joakim Noah should hit the offensive glass hard from the weak side when Rose drives to the rim as his man will likely need to do a whole lot of helping. Hopefully Carlos Boozer's jumper is falling tonight as well.

The Bulls may wish to consider using C.J. Watson at SG tonight for some minutes to get some extra scoring potential and shot creation on the floor.

MVP time for Derrick Rose

Rose has played in near peak form the past two games and has dominated opponents. The Bulls will likely need a similar effort from Rose tonight to carry the team and create easy offensive opportunities for his teammates.

The 76ers can blitz Rose, but he's proven he can overcome the double blitz as well.

The 76ers also lack a shot blocker to throw at Rose. Their defense will look to trap him on the perimeter, but if he can split the double teams, work a give and go, or come off screens successfully then he should have a field day once he gets in the paint.

Defend the paint, but KYP

The 76ers shoot one of the highest three point percentages in the NBA, but they also shoot them at a low volume. There are only a few shooters Chicago really needs to watch out for Jodie Meeks, Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala, and Jrue Holiday.

Even amongst those guys, I'd only really commit heavily to Meeks on the perimeter. The other guys I'd feel comfortable running at with controlled cover.

Otherwise, the Bulls should look to defend the paint and put their greatest emphasis on stopping Philadelphia from slashing into the lane and getting easy hoops. Chicago may want to whip out some more of the zone defense they employed briefly against Miami.

Punish the small ball

Without Spencer Hawes, the 76ers will play small most of the night. Chicago should have a large advantage with Noah in at center [and to a lesser extent Asik]. They need to get him the ball when he gets someone particularly smaller than him matched up and both of our centers need to play extremely aggressively on the offensive glass to punish Philly's lack of size.

Elton Brand's the only legit big man they have, and the Bulls should look to take advantage of his limited athleticism. Particularly when Taj is lined up against him. We should have a significant size advantage all night.

Go get this one

Chicago's lost it's last two games that meant anything. Quite simply, it's time to go win one against a quality opponent. I believe the Bulls will do just that tonight.

Filed under: Game Threads

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  • I think we lose this one... for one reason:

    I have to go out with the in laws, and they lose every game I have to tape (and games against the Heat).

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    The Bulls, not the in laws.

  • It's unfortunate, but realistically, Bulls must assume Rip cannot stay healthy through four playoff series. Bulls must plan accordingly.

    Does Rip's prognosis mean it's J.R. Smith time?

  • In reply to Edward:

    I doubt it, but I hope so.

  • In reply to Edward:

    For all you JRSmithies out there

    JR Smith scored today 60 points in Zhejiang win over Qingdao 122-110. Former Denver Nuggets played hit 7/14 from two points, 14/18 from the arc and 4./5 from the FT line. Smith also had 8 rebounds, 6 steals, 2 assists and 8 fouls drawn. Sportando

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'd take JR Smith but lol at stats from China. I think ripping up summer league counts for more than those.

  • If the Bulls lose this one which I expect them to, it will further cement that the Bulls cannot handle athletic teams which means come playoff time the Sixers or Heat will put the Bulls out of their injured misery.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Deng is so important to stop or at the least slow down that athletic guy who can pass like LeBron, Igoudala, Turner etc.. Brewer can do that but he is mostly miserable on offense to play him more. As somebody said, Deng seems to be more valuable to the Bulls than Rose during most of the reg season games. Off-course, you need Rose against the elite teams.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    The lack of talent(especially at sg, sf and pf) on the bulls is starting to show after loses to indy, miami and philly. Rose alone is simply not enough to beat miami and may not even be enough vs indy, philly and atlanta in the playoffs.

    gar/pax need to do something before the trade deadline. sign j.r.smith and trade for d howard please!

  • Although Korver is shooting 3/4, I feel handicapped with he and Boozer starting. CJ at sg may be our best hope or Gibson in the starting line up. Boozer and Korver aren't athletic enough.

  • Boozer for Brand, who says no first. I say Philly, even though Boozer makes around $5 million less total this season and next, and the Bulls have to go into the luxury tax to take on Brand.

    We get out of the last 2 years and $32+ million of Boozers contract without having to amnesty him, which despite what some have said will happen before his contract is up if he isn't traded.

  • I really don't understand how Thibs maintains any credibility(which he obviously does) with the rest of the team, when he lets Boozer get away with that kind of behavior(the first Iguadala dunk in the 3rd quarter).

    Step up take a hard foul a soft foul, do something, anything other than back up to clear a path for the guy. He might have well have given the Iggy a BJ while he was at it.

    That is why he is deserving of outright hatred, not just dislike or displeasure, and anyone who doesn't get that has simply never competed for anything in their life.

    He should have immediately been benched for the rest of the game.

    I am sorry to say but that play was not just unacceptable, it was despicably disgusting.

    Notice how the game has become a blowout since that play. Maybe the other guys noticed it too.

    Yea, I know, I'm am the problem, because I have an irrational hatred, right.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Nope not at all, Boozer deserves his critics. This Bulls team will eventually fold down the stretch with the mounting injuries and inconsistent play from some of the players.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Hatred in general is usually irrational. What don't you understand about that? I don't think anyone disagree's with your sentiment that Boozer is one giant piece of crap. To become enraged and full of hatred is your problem.

    Joakim Noah has two fucking points and seven rebounds. Our bench has been pitiful. With all the injuries our Bench Mob has has been disbanded.

    It's disheartening to see that the Bulls fail against the top competitors in the Eastern Conference. That being said, I have little faith in this Bulls team. The TRY HARD mentality is just not cutting it this year. Nor did it last year. Playing as a team is awesome. Playing great defense is awesome, but the Bulls just don't have the talent to maintain those commitments. Outside of Rose and Deng, this team is not cutting it day in day out--perfect example being Noah. We've had plenty of injuries to hold us back, but we should be able to beat the Pacers and the 76ers.

    Moving forward, I would trade everyone and there mother--minus Derrick of course--for Dwight Howard if the opportunity presented itself. IMO this team isn't getting better in the foreseeable future. Last year seems like an aberration. TRY HARD, TRY HARD all you want, if you don't have the talent it doesn't make a difference in the long run. I just hope Gar/Pax get their asses out of their heads and make a move. JR Smith sounds great. It's unfortunate that RIP is turning out to be a terrible mistake. This could very well change if he could just play two god damn games back to back without falling apart. However, to date, RIP has been a failure simply, because he can't maintain his health. Maybe he stays together in the playoffs, but I wouldn't bet on it.

    Doug's proposed trade for Andre Iguodala would have been the difference maker over the next few years. I wouldn't have to sit here bitching about the Bulls chances of landing Dwight Howard.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Correction, our bench outside of Waston was terrible. Why didn't he start over Korver--especially considering John Lucas able to play?

  • In reply to Jmax:

    JL3 and Scal don't matter.
    The problem guys in order:
    1) Boozer -- biggest problem
    2) Brewer --- struggled after a few good games. But in fairness, he needs to be behind Deng and Rip ....so injuries have pushed him to do things which he is not capable off.
    3) Noah -- still no consistency against good teams. Dominated Mil with Bogut, NJ without Lopez, the knuckleheads of Wizards and struggled against Hibbert, Young/Brand. He played well against Miami.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I agree, but my order would be:

    Boozer
    Noah
    Injuries

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Forgot to add Atlanta to the list of losses against top EC competitors. We easily could be 0-2 against them.

    "Chicago's lost it's last two games that meant anything. Quite simply, it's time to go win one against a quality opponent. I believe the Bulls will do just that tonight."

    Doug I expect your article tomorrow to talk in depth about the Bulls play in the Eastern conference. What once was a minor concern is now a big problem.

    Kendall Gill calling out Boozer in the post game show. Asking how the rest of the team can move forward with his missed assignments and lack of defensive effort. Is it time to bring him off the bench?

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Hatred

    Synonyms: abhorrence, abomination, detestation, execration, hate, loathing

    there is nothing irrational about having those feelings toward the play/effort that Boozer puts into his profession, especially since he is compensated in the top .000000001% to do so.

    In fact, it is actually perfectly rational to react that way, if you care about what you are watching as a fan, a derivative of the word fanatical.

    If I recall Doug's Iggy trade allowed the Bulls to keep Deng, essentially Philly giving Iggy away in a salary dump, which I never thought made any sense for them to do, but I would have welcomed Iggy onto this Bulls team with open arms.

    Who says no first, Deng and Boozer for Iggy and Brand, I say Philly again, even if Linus(Thibs) would never let that proposal happen.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Even though we've bumped heads your hilarity is appreciated.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Boozer = 4 years, Brand = 2 years. The 76ers say no, but it really has nothing to do with anything on the court and purely to do with finances.

    Which is why the hypothetical "if Boozer made X" stuff is rubbish. How much a player makes always matters because it affects who you can trade them for.

  • Regardless of what happens score wise, I'd like to see Thibs go with the unit that started the fourth for the entire quarter, just to see what they can do.

  • Both Noah and Boozer struggling again today. I know Boozer has a lot to be blamed but the duo struggles against most good teams and can never win their match-ups.
    Again, unless Rip is out there facilitating like we have seen some times, it looks the Bulls will struggle against good defensive teams. They have grown from last year to beat up on bad teams unlike last year where they had to go full throttle even against bad teams.
    But, this is not good that they are struggling against good teams in the East.

  • bulls slipping badly, fattening up the record on bottom feeders, looking overmatched against decent teams. I'd go all in for howard

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Agreed. I'd even include Scottie Pippen and the MJ statue.

  • Again the bulls prove they r not going anywhere. If you cant beat good, athlete teams on the road you can't win a championship. We picked up one shooter this off season and none of our other players got any better. No defense from Boozer and Noah as usual. Unless we play an old, slow team like Boston the bulls have no chance. Its sad that this organization want spend the money to bring in shooters, players that will attack the basket. Players that will attack the basket not jump shooters

  • We should all keep in mind that we were playing without our 2nd and 3rd options. Honestly Rip and Deng might be more important against teams like Philly and Miami than Rose. Thats blasphemous, I know, but the drop from Rip and Deng to Korver and Brewer is greater than from Rose to CJ I think. I know that there is a chance that neither will be fully healthy but if that is the case there is no way that we stand pat. There would be too much pressure on the front office to waste a year of DRose.

  • I certainly think it's time to panic because we failed to beat statistically the strongest team in the NBA, on the road, while missing two starters, dropping our record to only .750.

    Blow it up GarPax!

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Looking at this game in a vacuum doesn't concern me. Looking at this game while considering our losses to the Hawks, Pacers and Heat scares the shit out of me. We're missing two starters, but how detrimental is Luol Deng's injury for the remainder of this season? We don't even know if he can play effectively when he comes back. Then there's RIP. Can you say with any optimism that he'll maintain his health throughout the playoffs? As bad as Bogan's was, he played 82 games last season.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    I agree, tthe theory that the bulls can go all the way with their current team is bunch of BS propagated by ESPN (Wilbon) to spike interest in potential playoff matchups. The truth is if you look at the bulls roster up and down they don't have the talent to match up, nor do they have the Dallas veteran know-how/last chance thing going for them either. YOu dont win with only one star on the team, even if you think about that 04 detroit team, they had 100% solid starting 5, with 3 or 4 Allstar/borderline players. And the competition in the east was total junk that year too. I think we tend to overrate the players on the team based on emotional ties but dont be fooled, to win this team needs to get howard

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    and this is not about blowing it up, it's about going for a once in generation player. If there was no one available I would certainly not advocate shaking up the team

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    The problem is that the idea of most teams going all the way is BS. Only one team a year goes all the way. So if the Bulls have something like a 20% shot at the title (which is the ballpark of where I'd put them) then chances are that they don't win, and people will smugly sit back and say "see told you so, they weren't really contenders".

    I'm certainly not saying don't get Howard, if he wants to come here and a trade can be made then make it, IMO he's the second best player in the game after LeBron, of course you try to get him. But you have to be realistic and say that chances of the stars aligning and a Howard trade to the Bulls happening are low.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    You're going to lose so games through the season, to only lose 1/4 of them while missing a couple of players (not always the same ones) for the majority of games so far is pretty good. So the losses come against top teams ... most team's losses do. Not many teams find they lose to scrub teams more than the better teams.

    Yes Deng and Rip's future health is a concern. But what are you going to do about it? If they're not healthy they're not healthy. You need luck to win, and part of that luck is that players are healthy come playoffs. I don't have a crystal ball so I can't say whether Deng and Rip will be good to go.

    And Bogans is still out there, maybe we should bring him back. I'm certainly not against the idea, after his horrific start to the season last year he was decent for the last 50 games or so. Brewer I think would benefit most from it, he seems best when he can go all out for 24 minutes.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    I assume that you are being sarcastic.

    At 18-6 we are playing at last years pace, and I would be happy to finish the season at that pace.

    However, we are only 3-3 in the last six, winning against the little sisters of the poor and losing to what might be 3 of the other top 4 teams in the east, so that might be of some concern.

    Clearly, it is hard to evaluate with 40% of our starting lineup out.

    No time to panic, but going after Howard in a reasonable fashion would not be panic.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Well of course we were going to have a stretch where we went 3-3, you don't go .750 by winning 3 then losing 1 the entire season. And with the games coming thick and fast this year I don't know if any team will even go .750 this year anyway. Heck even in non-shortened seasons there is on average less than 1 team a year that finishes with that sort of record. Winning 3/4 of your games is hard.

    I mean it's funny how everyone says the regular season doesn't matter, the playoffs are all we care about but have a couple of losses and people (not saying you) come out of the woodwork to talk doom and gloom.

    I'm all in favour of going after Howard, although I don't think he really wants to come here, but who knows, if the Magic keep imploding maybe that changes.

  • The Bulls just may finish this road trip at 4-5 cause the Bucks are kicking Miami ass and Boston is playing better as of late. Bulls not looking good with all of the injuries.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I've said since the beginning of the season that this Bulls team does not impress me. The talent level is just not there and this team just isn't athletic enough. I know the Bulls have injuries to some of there best players but again... the talent level is a big road block for this team. Rose needs help on the offensive side of the ball, he needs help with players getting to the basket and perimeter scoring. And on defense he needs all other players on the floor with him to do what they're suppose to do, rebound and play "TEAM DEFENSE". In my honest opinion this season is a wash if they don't make some sort of trade or signing for J.R. Smith. We all can analyze and make excuses for the Bulls but the bottom line is the talent level is just not there compared to teams like the Heat and Sixers in the eastern conference.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I more or less agree with you that the bulls are not supremely talented(other than Rose, of course), however, I don't think that the sixers are either.

    Right now they are out trying the Bulls, playing better defense than the Bulls, and likely outcoaching the Bulls.

    He may not last long, but Doug Collins sure can coach, too me he is a likable Larry Brown.

    I wonder what would have happened if we had hired him instead of Del Bimbo.

  • The game was won and lost in the paint and turnovers. Bulls again giving up tons of ez points in the paint with horrific interior defense( i think it was 46 points in the paint). If this trend continues, they should give strong thought of putting Gibson into the starting unit and Boozer off the bench. If I can take anything positive out of this game, i thought Jimmy Butler played some pretty solid defense and hit a nice corner three. Teams will continue to attack slow feetz Boozer on the pick and roll and feast on high turnovers with the kind of athletes most teams have. The Bulls simply don't look like the super sharp team of last year that outworked and outprepared everyone else in the league.

  • I will probably post this link again tomorrow, but some stat guy on ESPN with statistical analysis of 3 proposed Howard to Bulls trades.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7527886/three-dwight-howard-chicago-bulls-trades-work-nba

  • The Bulls consistently get outplayed in the 3rd quarter. Does it say something about Thibs's adjustments during half-time or does he keep harping on defense instead of making new adjustments based on the match-ups, how the other team is playing.

    The other thing I heard from Tim Legler is if the Bulls want to become a multiple c'ship contender, Rose has to be the 2nd highest scorer most of the time. Maybe Mirotic can be that guy

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Yeah I agree with Legler, Rose shouldn't be the leading scorers all the time, he's the point guard and that's not normal for a championship caliber team.

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