The game will tip-off at 7:30 and take place in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center. Here’s what to watch in the matchup.
While the Bulls are still far from a contending team, they are developing quite a nice young core.
Ranking 6th in the league, scoring 28.5 points per game, LaVine has grown into a legitimate all-star and is a fun player to watch on a nightly basis. LaVine will need to come ready to play and face off against Joel Embiid, who ranks 4th in the NBA in scoring with 29.7 points per game.
The Bulls’ young nucleus also includes Coby White, Patrick Williams, and Wendell Carter. Each player is averaging over 10 points per game and has been in the league for less than 3 years.
The Bulls are still very young but have some solid players in place and could be a team to watch out for a few years down the line.
While inconsistent this year, the Bulls are riding back-to-back victories and looking to continue that momentum. On the season, the team is averaging 114.6 points per game (10th in NBA) and allows 115.4 points per game (26th in NBA).
Ben Simmons has been upgraded to probable after missing the previous matchup with an illness. The Sixers will be back with their all-star point guard and DPOY candidate, and it will be fun to watch his matchup with LaVine in this one.
Shake Milton is listed as doubtful as he continues to recover from his ankle sprain. He will likely be missing his 5th straight game, and the Sixers will continue to be without his scoring punch off the bench that the offense desperately craves.
Joel Embiid is thankfully not listed on the injury report.
Sixers’ potential deadline target Lauri Markkanen remains out with a shoulder injury and is targeting an early March return. The Bulls will continue to be without the 19.1 points he is averaging per game this year.
Chandler Hutchison, Otto Porter, and Adam Mokoka are all also on the injury report as day-to-day. Out of the three, Otto Porter would be the most significant blow to the Bulls as he is averaging 11.6 points and 6.3 rebounds this season.
Final Thoughts On Sixers Matchup
The Sixers open up as 8 point favorites, according to the Vegas lines. It seems like it has been a while since the team produced a dominant victory, but this matchup might just be the night.
Forcing Joel Embiid to play 37 minutes in the Rockets matchup should be considered enough of a loss given the fact that the team once led by 29 points. The Sixers should look to put the Bulls away early in this one and provide the “old-school load management” that Embiid has earned.
The Bulls are not known for their size, so look for Joel Embiid to be the focal point of the offense in the early minutes. It also will be a huge benefit to have Ben Simmons back in the lineup and look for the offense to look cleaner because of his influence.
While you never know with this Sixers team, this game should be penciled in the win column. Despite the heroic effort that Zach LaVine will undoubtedly provide, the Sixers must prove why they are the better team and get back to producing victories in dominant fashion.
Lead Sixers Writer for Philly Sports Network and Co-host of the Pick Swap Podcast. Trust the Process
Twitter: @Sean_Barnard1 and @PickSwapPod