[Thanks to paddyfairview for today's game preview. Game is at 7:00 on The U and nationally on NBATV -ed.]
Since I bet more than my house is worth on the Sixers beating the Heat in round one of the playoffs (kidding...I don't have a house), I'll be watching this one with playoff matchups in mind*. Also, given the Bulls walloped Philly once and let the rematch slip away, there's a potential revenge angle. That's not all "storyline" either, look what happened to Atlanta after they slid one by DRose & Co. All I know is, after picking the Sixers as a playoff team before the season, and then pretending I didn't when they started playing shitty, I am now pretending I never jumped off the bandwagon. Go Philly!
Beat the Heat! Lose to the Bulls.
*Whatever, I think they're an interesting "upset" team. New York sucks and Indiana already blew their wad where Bulls victories are concerned. You gotta have one serious underdog run, right? V-C-U! V-C-U!
Point: No point saying "edge" to the Bulls; on the rare occasion it's even close, most of us go all Wilbon and pre-emptively defend our guy against any intrusion of facts, numbers or rationality. Jrue Holiday is putting up 13.6 points and 6.2 assists per game, and Lou Williams (one of my favorite underrated role players) is putting up 21 points and 5 assists per 36.
Shooting Guard: Anyone else digging the platoon all of a sudden? I know 99% of my warm fuzzy feelings come from back-to-back blowouts and sole possession of first, but it's fun watching vastly different players play during each segment of Thibs' rotation. In my basketball fantasies, Brewer is lurking on the baseline, Korver is coming off screens, and Bogans is providing all-important chemistry...AT THE SAME TIME. It's like pulling a junky girl, a skinny girl, and their very nice but ugly friend all at once. Since, all kidding aside, it's going to take a direct meteor strike to remove Bogans from the lineup, I'm just enjoying the variety while stocking up on replacement TVs for the playoffs. As far as the Sixers go, Jodie Meeks is hitting threes at a pretty decent clip, and Evan Turner, the number two overall pick, is not. Let's be honest - no one is watching this game for the shooting guard play.
Small Forward: There were plenty of Deng-for-Iguodala trade propositions floating around the Bull-o-sphere until Deng shut most people up. Iggy managed a fine/decent 17 & 4 when the Bulls slaughtered Phiilly, but was out when the Sixers won in January. As for Lu, he put up 22 in each game, with vastly different results. I don't know what's weirder here - that both these former-franchise guys had so little impact on their team's success (nah, that's who they are), or that Deng was the consistent one.
Big Men: Noah and Booz each had double-doubles vs. the Bucks, so I can't run with the man-they've-been-bad-lately angle. I hope they're permanently back on track. Asik will undoubtedly give everyone dunk-blue-balls while he fumbles around and gets fouled eight times, before slamming it down and setting Bulls fans everywhere to expounding on the merits of the Turkish basketball program. For the Sixers, I remember vividly when I thought Elton Brand would save the Bulls from years of futility. So, basically, I'm still inclined to dislike him even though he did his time under Emperor Sterling. He and Doug Collins can head up the all-time Bulls "almost" team. Philly has a veritable "who's not" of backup big men, so "edge Bulls" there, I guess.
Here's hoping the big men to play up to snuff, Deng stays healthy, and Ronnie Brewer runs the break and hits a few of those weird, hang-in-the-air, arms-all-crooked, heels-to-the-ass jumpers. Home court throughout the playoffs seems to be within reach, get it done!
Check out Liberty Ballers.