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Bulls vs. Sixers preview: First game of a tough back to back for Chicago

Sunday matinee clash against a tough Eastern Conference opponent

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Chicago Bulls v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls are in the midst of a grueling stretch of games. Since last Monday they have played three games including two straight on Thursday and Friday. After losing to the Raptors in overtime, Chicago bounced back with a solid win against the Pacers. Nikola Vucevic dominated inside and Ayo Dosunmu delivered the dagger with a towering dunk that brought everyone on the Bulls bench to their feet. The win was Chicago’s 33rd on the season and kept them at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, tied with the Miami Heat. This matinee game also has implications for the All-Star Game this month. If the Bulls win, Billy Donovan and his staff will be coaching Team Durant and a loss would see the Heat’s coaching staff go to Cleveland.

Now Chicago is set to play in another back to back, their second in five days. It won’t be an easy task either as the Bulls face off against two of the top teams in the league. This afternoon it’s against one of the teams that are hot on Chicago’s tail in the standings.

The Philadelphia 76ers are coming into this game in a mini-slump, having lost two games in a row. They last played on Friday as well, losing to the Dallas Mavericks 107-98. Joel Embiid had 27 points and 13 rebounds while Tyrese Maxey pitched in with 18. But their defense couldn’t stop Dallas’s attack, led by Luka Doncic in route to the defeat. Still, this is a solid 76ers team. Embiid is playing like an MVP front runner while Maxey has taken the reigns of being their starting point guard. Seth Curry has also come on as viable scoring option for Philadelphia as well. The Bulls in the past have struggled to guard Embiid so it’s going to be a big ask defensively for Vucevic to try and slow him down. The 76ers are currently have a record of 31-21, good enough for fifth in the East. They remain two games behind Chicago but also now have some distance between them and 6th placed Brooklyn as the gap between those teams is two also.

Injury Report:

Zach LaVine didn’t play against Indiana with right back spams and neither did Coby White who has an abductor injury. Both are listed as questionable for this game. Marko Simonovic remains out as he’s on G-League assignment.

Philadelphia has two players labeled as questionable as well. Furkan Korkmaz (left knee soreness) and Matisse Thybulle (right shoulder soreness) both are listed on the injury report. Shake Milton is out with a back contusion while Jaden Springer and Paul Reed are on assignment in the G-League.

The Thybulle injury could have ramifications to how the 76ers play as he’s one of their top perimeter defenders and would likely be guarding either DeRozan or LaVine.

Game Time: 2:30 PM CT

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Odds: The Bulls are underdogs as most sports books have Philadelphia as two-point favorites. You can also find Chicago as 1.5 point underdogs at some places. There are more options when it comes to the over/under. Some books have it at 222 while others have 221.5 and even 219.5. (All info via the Action Network)