The Chicago Bulls are looking for some positives heading into the All-Star break. They are currently 19-34 and on a four-game losing streak. After a come-from-behind victory against the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 29, the Bulls have dropped games to the Pacers, Raptors, Nets, and Pelicans, respectively.
The Bulls are currently slated in 10th place in the East, half a game back behind the Washington Wizards and three games behind the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic. There is still time for Chicago to make up this deficit, but wins are going to have to come soon. The schedule is going to be really hard in March and April after an initial soft stretch following the All-Star break, and each loss is going to put a dent in their playoff hopes. The Bulls have two more games before the All-Star break, and the first one is a real stiff test.
Chicago’s opponent in this Sunday matinee will be the Philadelphia 76ers. Coming into the season, they were expected to be battling with the Bucks for the East crown, but so far they have been rather inconsistent due to crazy home/road splits (23-2 at home, 9-19 on the road). Philly is slated at fifth with a record of 32-21 and just recently snapped a losing streak.
After losing four games in a row, the Sixers got a big contribution from Furkan Korkmaz in a 119-107 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Philadelphia was hot on offense, shooting 53 percent from the field and 56 percent on 3-pointers. With the All-Star duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid healthy, the Sixers can present matchup problems for any opponent. Chicago is going to have to really lock in defensively and try to force the Sixers’ other players to beat them. If they let Embiid dominate in the post and give Simmons open passing lanes, it’s going to be very tough to stop Philadelphia. Brett Brown’s side is also one of the hardest teams to score against. They are currently fourth in the NBA with a defensive rating of 106.1.
Injury Report: There has been a surprise addition to the injury report. Zach LaVine is listed as questionable with neck spasms. Daniel Gafford is questionable with a sprained ankle, while Denzel Valentine is doubtful with hamstring soreness.
As for the Sixers, Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson lll are both available to make their respective debuts after coming over from the Warriors. Al Horford is available despite a sore left Achilles, while Embiid is available despite experiencing stiffness in his neck.
Game Time: 5 p.m. CT
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Betting Odds: The Sixers opened as an 11.5-point favorite, but it has since dropped to 10.5 at some places. The total can either be found at 214 or 214.5 (via the Action Network).