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Game Thread #75: Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers

Ah yes, our new rivals, the Sixers.

I think they're terrible, and the Bulls can win these next couple games. The Bulls may not have Allen Iverson, but they have a far better coach, and actually play defense. Philly has the 23rd ranked defense in the league, in no small part because Chris Weber can't move one of his legs.

Both teams play fast-paced, so the key for the Bulls will be if they can avoid their trademark cold spells and score into the hundreds against Philly's soft defense. I'm pretty confident the Bulls can limit Iverson and Webber to the point where they won't be able to keep up. Remember, the Bulls absolutely ran them out of the gym in the last game before the all-star break.

Some other facts about the Sixers:

  • Before their draft, I torn between the Bulls taking either Andre Iguodala or Luol Deng. Iggy's a good defender and would be a nice 'true' 2, but still like Luol more. Maybe him AND Deng (and no Gordon)? Nah, that team would score 60 points a game. But if you watched the rookie/soph game this year, maybe AI and Webber are holding Iguodala's offensive game back.
  • Sam Dalembert parlayed a nice playoffs into a huge contract extension this offseason, setting the market for Tyson Chandler's contract. Thanks alot. While similar players, given their age and play the Bulls should get the better return on investment.
  • It's not rare to see the Sixers overpay. GM Billy King's cap wrecking crew include Aaron McKie, Kenny Thomas, Eric Snow, and Kyle Korver. Willie Green would have made that list if he didn't hurt his knee before signing it, saving the Sixers from themselves. Play for King and you'll get paid. And then traded for another contract some other team didn't want.
  • Stephen Hunter was almost given away at the trade deadline (for two 2nd rounders), but was returned as damaged goods by New Orleans. Now he's back in the rotation, go figure. Between him and Dalembert there could be many blocks to be had, but not so much rebounding.
  • Kevin Ollie is their starting point guard. Kevin Ollie! Ollie's claim to Bulls fame was being included in the Jalen Rose deal. At least for me it was.

Knickerblogger's expected wins standings says the Bulls should have more wins than the Sixers, based on their points for/against totals. The factor that gives the Sixers a better actual record may simply be having a 'closer' like Allen Iverson, but it could also be just some bad luck for the Bulls this season. The updated CoolStandings has the Bulls with a 71% chance of making the playoffs. The great blog Sixers Shots even thinks his team will be on the outside looking in when this season's over (reading that blog bash Mo Cheeks all season has been a guilty pleasure).

I guess it doesn't really matter if the Bulls come out and lay an egg. But I'm liking their chances.

Leave rivalry-tastic comments below!