This Wednesday edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent one of the hottest teams in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls.
This is going to be an interesting game to watch tonight as it’s a match up of teams going in completely opposite directions. On one hand, the Bulls are absolutely rolling right now (more on that later) and head coach Vinny Del Negro has had a large part in getting this team turned around after a horrible start to 2009-10. Mean while, Philadunkia’s home team started off shaky and has steadily regressed to the point where they absolutely stunk up the joint in three of their last four games. Additionally from the body language and facial expressions we have seen the players displaying lately, head coach Eddie Jordan has lost this squad.
From an X&Os standpoint, we think the Sixers are in a lot of trouble tonight. First, the Bulls feature All-Star Derrick Rose, one of the best scoring point men in the League. Since we know that starting Sixers point guard JrueHoliday (a defensive standout) will only see about fifteen minutes of action thanks to Jordan’s unexplainable lineup rotations, Rose will spend most of the night blowing by Louis Williams or Willie Green. The Bulls also shoot the 3-ball decently (35.2% — 14thin the NBA) so that won’t help the Sixers perimeter defensive woes either. Chicago is no slouch on the interior as well. Loul Deng, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Brad Miller can all score and hit the glass. Finally, the Bulls are young, athletic and can push the rock for easy fast break buckets.
The Bulls have also turned it up a notch at the other end of the floor and become a very, very solid defensive club. They’re second in the NBA in opponent’s FG percentage (43.6%) and rank among the Top 10 in the NBA in a host of other defensive stats (More on that later). That’s not good news for a Sixers team that has frequently struggled to put the ball in the bucket this season and it’s especially bad news for a Sixers team that tonight will be missing one of its more consistent scoring threats in Allen Iverson. One of Iverson’s children is ill and the Sixers have given Allen permission to skip the game in order to be with his family.
Honestly after their uninspiring performance against the Nets on Sunday night, we’re hard pressed to find a way the Sixers can win this game. Their only chance comes with the idea that the Bulls could be exhausted. Chicago wrapped up a 7-game road trip on Friday night, played at home last night and then flew from Chicago to Philadelphia for tonight’s game. The Sixers have been off for two days and except for a bus ride to the Meadowlands on Sunday, they have been home since January 28th. So there is a slight chance that a rested Philly squad could use its fresh legs to steal a W from the weary Bulls tonight.
For a little more insight into the Bulls team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Matt McHale from bullsbythehorns.com to answer two questions on DAAA Bulls from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this Chicago squad from an insider’s perspective.