It has been an overall successful “Circus Trip” for the Chicago Bulls. They have gone 3-2 on this road trip with impressive wins over Utah and Portland, although the latter has been struggling a bit as of late. Narrow losses to the Clippers and Denver still made for great basketball games, and the win against the Lakers was due to a fantastic performance by Jimmy Butler. On a road trip where everyone thought they would get smoked, Chicago actually looks alright.
Now Chicago has a chance to end this road trip over .500 when they travel to Philly to face the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly currently has a 4-11 record and are dead last in the Eastern Conference. They recently had a winning streak of two games but it was snapped by the Grizzlies two days ago in overtime. Even though they lost, the 76ers have been playing some good basketball as of late.
It has been deemed another rebuilding year for the 76ers. 2016 first overall pick Ben Simmons is still out with a foot injury. Joel Embiid has returned this year, but he’s out for rest in this game. Nerlens Noel is still battling injury as well and will likely be out in this game. That will be huge, as Noel can certainly protect the rim at 6’11 and another big man out means Chicago can once again dominate on the boards.
The Bulls actually lost the rebound battle(55-48) in their last game against Denver. The starters did their job on the glass, but the bench let Chicago down. Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis both grabbed a combined total of four rebounds against the Nuggets and that number should be higher against the Sixers. After seeing that stat, it just makes the cries (and justifiable) for Cristiano Felicio to play more minutes. Felicio would help the bench unit in terms of defense and on the boards, where Chicago uses to help spark their offense. But the way Jimmy Butler is playing, Chicago is looking like they won’t have to run any offense while he is on the court.
In terms of other injury news for Chicago, MCW and McDermott will still be out. This will be the last Bulls game till next Wednesday when they come back to play the Lakers and have a matchup with LeBron and the Cavaliers looming in the distance.
Gametime 6:30 CT on WGN