What better way to rectify a minor three-game losing skid then by playing the Philadelphia 76ers? Having completed a greuling four-games-in-five-nights stretch -- the last of the season for the Bulls -- facing a team that's blatantly trying to lose is just what the doctor ordered. Well, so long as the Bulls manage to win tonight, of course. So let's not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet, if we know anything about the 2014-15 Bulls -- injury ridden or not -- it's that taking care of business against bum teams has been a real struggle.
As you can see, among playoff teams, the Bulls are second-to-worst at beating teams with records below .500. I suppose the positive spin on that statistic is that the Bulls won't be playing any teams that are below .500 in the playoffs. However, historically speaking, teams that have won championships don't have trouble with bad teams. Typically, the best teams in the league year-in-and-year-out -- and the ones who garner the most playoff success -- are the teams that take advantage of the poor competition.
The Bulls, obviously, have not taken advantage of the bad teams this season. They let teams hang around and they hardly ever blow teams out -- having only a handful of blowout wins on the season -- which means the Bulls haven't been able to rest their core players against bad teams because the games are usually too close for Tom Thibodeau's comfort. It's really perplexing how bad the Bulls have been against bad teams all season, and hopefully they can break away from that habit for at least one night.
Philadelphia is dead last in offensive efficiency scoring just 94.2 points per 100 possessions, which is an absolutely miserable mark. They did, however, beat the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday and have been off ever since. So not only are they coming off their best win of the season, but they're also rested. But as always with Philly, the on the court stuff hardly matters as the big story this week pertains to first-round draft pick Joel Embiid's recent injury setback. I wouldn't say I'm rooting against Philadelphia's tanking strategy -- it 100 percent sucks Embiid might be hurt again -- but this sure does feel like some much deserved basketball god karma, doesn't it?
I do think what the Sixers are doing is comparable to what the Cubs have done / are doing. So in that regard, I can't hate on Philly too much. As messed up as it is to say -- it goes against every fiber in my being as a competitive person -- there is a right way to lose. So if you're gonna do it, do it right. Like tonight, for example. A loss tonight would be awesome because the Bulls could really use a win.
I can only imagine what would happen if the Bulls did wind up losing, though. Somehow, it'll be Derrick Rose's fault for not making the journey with the team to Philly, I'm sure. Oh, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler are also still out so that's unchanged. But in all reality, the Bulls should definitely win tonight. My expectations aren't very high, either. So even if they don't blow out Philly I won't concern myself with the end result too much as long as it's a W.
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