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Bulls vs. Sixers preview, injury report, lineups

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The Bulls are playing on ESPN for the only time this season. Can they make it count?

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Mostly due to the rebuild, the Chicago Bulls haven’t been participants in many prime time games as of late. In fact, they are only one of a handful of teams who are only slated to appear only once on national TV this season. Chicago won’t be featured on TNT this year, hence keeping the “TNT Bulls” streak intact and but are going to be playing on ESPN in this one.

The Bulls are heading into this one in good spirits. They have won two of their last three games, albeit those victories came against the Wizards and the Pistons. Against Washington on Wednesday, the Chicago once again got carried by the play of Zach LaVine. He scored 30 points along with seven rebounds and assists while Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young added 18 each. As a team the Bulls shot 50.6 percent from the field and didn’t let their poor free throw shooting (15 of 22) come back to haunt them.

With back to back wins against teams close to them in the standings, the Bulls are now slotted in ninth place in the East. The problem is that they are four games behind the Brooklyn Nets for eighth and five games behind the Orlando Magic for seventh. Chicago is going to have to keep racking up wins against Eastern Conference opponents. Having played the Celtics twice and the Pacers in their last handful of games, the Bulls have struggled against playoff contenders this season. Tonight represents another chance for them to earn a key victory against one of the best teams in the conference.

The Philadelphia 76ers have been in a slump as of late. They are 4-6 in their last 10 games and are currently sixth in the East with a record of 26-16. The Sixers recently snapped a two game losing streak, beating the Nets after back to back losses against the Pacers and Mavericks. Philadelphia’s sharing defense, which is seventh in defensive rating, limited Kyrie Irving to 14 points. They got a huge boost offensively from Tobias Harris who scored 34 while Ben Simmons pitched in with a double double (20 points and 11 assists). Even with their best player, Joel Embiid, out for multiple weeks with a finger injury, the Sixers are still a tough team. They are stout defensively and will surely be honing in on stopping LaVine. This means the rest of the Bulls need to step up to make sure their offense doesn’t start running on fumes.

Chicago’s guards are going to have their hands full guarding Simmons. There is also Harris who will surely have an advantage with the Bulls lack of depth at the small forward position.

Injury Report: There is another name added to the list of Bulls who will be out for this one and that’s Daniel Gafford. He injured his thumb against Washington and will miss 2-4 weeks with the injury. We don’t yet know the severity of Chandler Hutchison’s latest shoulder injury. He was in good spirits after last game but we haven’t seen any update.

As for the Sixers they just have Embiid listed as out while their two other players in Marial Shayok and Zhaire Smith are out with their G-League team.

Game Time: 7PM ET

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Betting Odds: The line opened with the Sixers being -7.5 point favorites but it’s since dropped to -7. As for the over/under, the total has been set at 215 at most places (via the Action Network)