After getting blown out against the Clippers last Saturday, the Chicago Bulls responded with back to back wins against division opponents. First was an overtime win against the Indiana Pacers, followed by a come from behind win to defeat the Pistons. Per usual this season, Zach LaVine was the main offensive catalyst in both of those wins. He had 30 points and 9 rebounds against Indiana while against Detroit he had 37, scoring 15 in one quarter alone. His efforts were crucial in making sure Chicago got two key wins to keep them in the hunt for an Eastern Conference play-off spot. The Bulls are currently 12-15, which is good enough for ninth in the conference standings and are half a game out of the seventh seed. To make matters more intriguing for Chicago they are only a whole game behind the Toronto Raptors for the sixth seed so there is a lot to play for.
Tonight will be the first time Chicago has played on National TV this season and it will be against one of the best teams in the NBA.
The Philadelphia 76ers have enjoyed a great start to their 2020-21 season. Joel Embiid is playing like an MVP candidate and the team is currently 19-10, which is first place in the Eastern Conference. They recently broke a three-game losing streak with a home win on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets. Embiid nearly had a triple double of 31 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists while Seth Curry added in 25. Tobias Harris also had a big game with a double double of 24 points and 15 rebounds. The Wells Fargo Center has been a fortress this season as the Sixers are 12-2 when playing on their home court. Chicago will be looking to improve on their 7-6 away record.
It’s easy to see what the key matchups in this game will be. Obviously Wendell Carter Jr. will be facing one of his toughest tests of the season against Embiid. It will be crucial that WCJ doesn’t find himself in foul trouble early on and force Billy Donovan to use his reserves against Embiid. With the Sixers also being seventh in the league in total rebounds per game (47.3), the Bulls big men will have to make sure they put up a fight on the boards.
It’s the same injury report for Chicago as it has been the last couple of games. Lauri Markkanen is still out with a shoulder injury, Chandler Hutchison with a contusion in his right leg, and Otto Porter Jr. with lower back spasms.
Meanwhile for Philly, Shake Milton is doubtful with a left ankle sprain while Ben Simmons is probable for this one. He missed Wednesday’s game against the Rockets due to the flu.
Game Time: 6:30 PM CT
Odds: The 76ers opened as a 9 and a half point favorite but the line has moved slightly. You can now find Chicago as 8 or 8 and a half point underdogs depending on where you look. As for the total, a lot of places have it at 228.5 but you can find 229 as well (all info via the Action Network)