[Thanks to fleng2 for today's game preview -yfbb]
6:00 CT / 7:00 ET / 4:00 PT | WELLS FARGO CENTER, Philadelphia, PA
The Bulls are visiting the tank, tank, Tankadelphia 76ers tonight, coming off a loss to the MVP-having and championship-contending Thunder. If not for a brick-laying session (and more in-n-outs than the state of California) to start the 4th quarter, the game might have been much closer. But going 3-3 against some pretty heavy competition at home is pretty acceptable. We'll take it.
The next four games are an interesting scheduling quirk, with a pair of home and homes with the 76ers and the Pacers. November seems like so long ago, when the 76ers started the season 3-0. They've gutted the team and have come crashing back down to Earth. The last time the Bulls faced the 76ers, they crushed them pretty badly.
This is a ROY-having but lottery-contending team. They are Riggin' for Wiggins and Sorry for Jabari. Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and their mascot have been traded and they have LOTS of picks. And next year, if the basketball gods are kind, they will be able to roll out Michael-Carter Williams, Nerlens Noel, a top pick, and hopefully a good free agent, Bobcats-style. Playoffs aren't out of the question; they are in the Leastern conference.
But this is all next year. This year, they are very clearly tanking. And it is the smart move; everybody tanks. It just so happens that this year there is a serious national discussion on the merits of tanking. Stan Van Gundy has had some harsh words. Zach Lowe has written about the possibility of changing the entire lottery system.
They're on a 21 game losing streak and let's not have it end against us. Look for the Bulls to bully them on the glass, shut down MCW and Thaddeus Young, and not make careless turnovers. Expect us to try to knock them down early and try to make it a snoozer. Noah hates Philly and would love to get a triple double. Add a dash of 3's from DJ and Kirk, a rebound game from Taj, and ideally Thibs can get the starters some rest before we see the Pacers. This is the best chance we get to see Jimmer unchained.
BULLS PROJECTED STARTERS
F - Dunleavy
F - Boozer
C - Noah
G - Butler
G - Hinrich
Bench - Gibson, Mohammed, Augustin, Snell, Murphy, Fredette
76ers PROJECTED STARTERS
F - Thaddeus Young
F - Hollis Thompson
C - Henry Sims
G - Michael Carter-Williams
G - James Anderson
Bench - Tony Wroten, Brandon Davies, Byron Mullens, Elliot Williams, James Nunnally, Jarvis Varnado