If the Bulls have a few good games left sandwiched between some bad ones then they managed to eat the bread against the Philadelphia 76ers, extending their losing streak to 22 games. We'll see how Chicago does against the next meaty game against the Indiana Pacers.
The Bulls defense seemed a bit in and out of this one, the 76ers hung in there with some fortuitous three point shooting, but the Bulls simply had too much down the stretch.
At various points of time they absolutely owned the glass getting offensive board after offensive board, and their size was just too much for the 76ers.
Joakim Noah wasn't all that close to a triple double for once. He finished with a mere 14/10/6/4 which I suppose if it weren't for his present run would still feel awfully close to a triple double.
For Noah, that's the fewest assists he's had in six games, and unlike his recent passing display, his six assists came with five turnovers tonight.
Speaking of Noah's assist rate, he needs 100 assists to have the most assists by a center since the 70s when the pace of the game was radically higher and assists were much easier to come by.
Standing in first place of the modern era of basketball is Vlade Divac who scored 432 assists in 2003/4. While it's an odd footnote in history, I still hope Noah gets it. Too bad the Bulls didn't trade Deng away a few months earlier, it'd be in the bag already.
The one that got away?
Jarvis Varnado didn't play a whole ton against the Bulls, but he still managed to block four shots in just 16 minutes, hit all three of his field goal attempts and pull down three boards.
Varnado, remember, was with the Bulls on a 10 day contract earlier. This could be the ultimate flash in the pan here, but the Bulls could absolutely have used the back up body to replace Nazr Mohammed, and Varnado at least looked active, live, and athletic.
Prepping for Indiana
The Bulls face off against the meet of their sandwich tonight against the Pacers. Both teams will be coming off of back to backs as the Pacers lost to the Knicks with Phil Jackson in the house.
The Pacers remind me of the 2010/11 Bulls team. They're obviously a pretty elite squad, but they are prone to stretches where they simply can't score.
I suppose that's similar to this Bulls team too. Indiana's got an elite defense and more offense than Chicago. They play hard every night as well.
They're a tough match up for anyone, but especially for a team like Chicago that tries to win through discipline, hard play, and grit. Indiana's got all of that in spades and more offensive talent.
They play twice over the next three games, and it will be a good test to see if the Bulls have any shot in hell of doing damage in the second round.
A strong showing in round two against the Pacers could really help Carmelo choose Chicago in the off-season.
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