The Sixers continue to lose ground in the Eastern Conference; the challenge won’t get any easier today as they face DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls. After consecutive disappointing losses against the Wizards and Mavericks, respectively, the Sixers are not in a place where they can afford to lose a third straight game.
With only two more games before the NBA trade deadline (Today’s and Phoenix), the state of the Sixers could very well dictate the level of activity for Philadelphia at the deadline, say, in pursuit of one James Harden. More and more losses could take away some slight bargaining power for Philadelphia, who otherwise could argue they’re not as desperate as the other team.
One factor that will play into tonight’s game is the number of injuries both teams are dealing with:
Both teams are suffering from more than their fair share of missing players. For the Sixers, the player to watch is Matisse Thybulle. If he cannot play tonight, the team will have little if any options to slow down Bull’s star DeMar DeRozan.
On Chicago’s end of things, the Bulls will certainly be without Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and Patrick Williams, none of whom are small losses. The biggest question mark for the Bulls is Zach LaVine, who is currently listed as questionable with back spasms. LaVine recently named a 2022 NBA All-Star, missed Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers but against more serious competition on Philadelphia, he’s likely to suit up.
Matisse Thybulle – Questionable (Shoulder Soreness)
Furkan Korkmaz – Questionable (Knee Soreness)
Shake Milton – Out (Back)
Paul Reed – Out (G League)
Jaden Springer – Out (G League)
Ben Simmons – Out (Packing for Brooklyn Hopefully)
Zach LaVine – Questionable (Back Spasms)
Coby White – Questionable (Adductor Strain)
Lonzo Ball – Out (Meniscus Tear)
Alex Caruso – Out (Fractured Wrist)
Derrick Jones Jr. – Out (Fractured Finger)
Patrick Williams – Out (Ligament Tear)
Player to Watch: Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid is the player to watch for Philadelphia in today’s game as if anyone else could be. This game will mark Embiid’s tenth contest against the Chicago Bulls, a matchup that has been dominated by the Sixers’ star as he currently reigns undefeated.
A head-to-head matchup between Embiid and former Sixer Nikola Vucevic will be the best big man matchup Sixers fans have seen since the Sixers faced Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz on December 9th, 2021. In thirteen previous games against each other, Embiid has a record of 8-5 against Vucevic. Statistically, they haven’t been too far apart; however, since Vucevic has been dealt to the Bulls, Joel Embiid has been dominant head to head.
Averaging 30 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in his last ten games, Joel Embiid has been extra dominant lately and can hopefully keep it going against the Bulls. The Sixers regrettably have no choice but to live and die by Embiid at least until the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday.
When, Where, How?
The Sixers will tip-off against the Bulls at 3:30 PM EST in Chicago. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or listen live if you prefer at 97.5 FM The Fanatic.
Philadelphia is currently a two-point favorite over Chicago, but that could certainly change as we get closer to game-time (and a Zach LaVine decision).