The Chicago Bulls are in Philadelphia to take on the 76ers tonight, looking to halt a six-game win streak. The Bulls are coming off a tough loss to the Heat with Jimmy Butler hitting a shot at the buzzer to send the Bulls to their 17th loss, while the Sixers dismantled the Charlotte Hornets on the same night. A 53 point blowout helped them reach their 18th win and 6th in a row.
Sixers vs Bulls game info
Who: Chicago Bulls (10-17) at Philadelphia 76ers (18-7)
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Wels Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Chicago, NBA League Pass
Sixers vs Bulls betting info
Spread: Sixers -11 | Bulls +11
Moneyline: Sixers -475 | Bulls +525
Total: Over/Under 227
What is going on with the Sixers
Sixers center and reigning MVP of the league, Joel Embiid, has been flat-out dominating throughout his most recent stretch of games. He’s currently the league’s leading scorer at 34.2 points per game and he’s been pulling away from Luka Doncic, while not even playing in the 4th quarter most games.
Over his last eight games, Embiid is averaging 38.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.9% from the floor, 37.5% on his three-point attempts, and 90.9% on his free throws. This is as dominating as we’ve seen from a player, let alone a center, in a long time.
The Sixers, as a whole, have been playing great over their six-game win streak. They’re getting quality minutes from Tyrese Maxey, who’s stepped up to be one of the most exciting players in the league and is currently 14th in the league in scoring at 25.8 points per game while leading the team in the assists at 6.7 per contest.
Tobias Harris has come back from a horrid stretch to give the Sixers the players they’ve been more accustomed to over his tenure with the team. While he’s only scored 14.4 points per game over his last five games, his shooting has come back as he’s hitting 57.1% of his shots, including 42.8% of his three-point attempts, which is a good sign for a Sixers team that likes to move the ball around.
While DeAnthony Melton has cooled off since a hot stretch a few weeks back, the rest of the team has been playing very well. Nico Batum has been giving the team good minutes, Kelly Oubre has returned from injury and has been giving the team good quality in limited minutes. Key reserves like Pat Beverley, Robert Covington, Marcus morris Sr., Paul Reed, and even Jaden Springer and Daniel House, have all been playing very well in the minutes they’ve been getting. Overall, this current Sixers team is as complete as we’ve seen from them in years.
What’s going on with the Bulls?
While the Bulls have what many assumed to be a good team, they’ve been beset by injuries and poor play throughout the season. As they’ve beaten some very poor teams recently, any time they’ve played anyone of substance, they’ve been losing, including to the Nuggets and Heat most recently.
Guard Lonzo Ball has been out the whole year, Zach LaVine is out with a foot injury and is expected to miss several more weeks as the team is trying to trade him. Guard Alex Caruso and Torrey Craig are both listed as questionable for the Sixers game. Overall, the health of the 12th-seeded Bulls is not good at all.
With Lavine and Caruso missing time the bulk of the weight being carried falls on DeMar DeRozan, who’s averaging 22.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 5.2 assists for the team. Behind DeRozan is Coby White, Nikola Vucevic, and Patrick Williams, which isn’t a very intimidating roster. The Bulls are a team lost in the middle. They’re not good enough to compete with the likes of the Sixers, Celtics, or Bucks for the top spots in the division yet they’re not bad enough to be down with the Wizards and Pistons.
What to watch for tonight in Philly
Even though Embiid is listed as questionable, as he has for the past week or so due to knee soreness, he should be starting tonight. The Bulls have Vucevic, who at 6’10” and 260 lbs, has the size to hang with Embiid. He’s just not as skilled and the Sixers All-Star center has been eating teams up at will. They could throw Andre Drummond out on Embiid but that’s proven to be flawed as well, if history serves me correctly.
There’s not much the Bulls should be able to do with the Sixers. They’re not as deep nor are they as talented as this current Sixers team and most importantly, they’re not as healthy. Players like Embiid and Maxey, who would normally be playing lots of minutes, have seen their time on court decrease over the past two weeks, as the team hasn’t needed to risk them being on the floor as well as using their games to get other players valuable minutes.
This game shouldn’t be much different as the Bulls shouldn’t be able to stand up to the Sixers stars. It should be another fun night for the whole Sixers team, with everyone getting minutes, scoring, and giving the hometown fans some more quality highlights as they blaze their way through the easiest part of their schedule this season.
To say that Embiid will finish over 35 points and 11 rebounds is almost a joke now, the real question is will he do it in under 30 minutes? More than likely, against this version of the Bulls, the answer is yes. The question for Tyrese Maxey is if he can get over 30 points before Head Coach Nick Nurse pulls him in under 33 minutes.
This should be another fun game for the Sixers faithful as well as the players as they head towards two tough matchups with the Western Conference-leading Timberwolves and the Miami Heat on Christmas Day.
Sixers 133 – Bulls 125
AP Photo/Nell Redmond