Sixers-Bulls: 5 things you need to know

Sixers-Bulls: 5 things you need to know

Tony Wroten suffers ankle injury

March 22, 2014, 2:00 pm
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The Sixers (15-54) take another crack at snapping their losing skid when they open up a three-game road trip against the Chicago Bulls (38-31).

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (CSN) at the United Center.

Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:

1. March sadness
The Sixers keep getting closer to that elusive win, which must make it even more painful when they come up short time after time.

The latest defeat came at the hands of the Knicks with Michael Carter-Williams missing a potential game-tying three-pointer in the final seconds. The loss was the Sixers’ 23rd in a row to tie the second-longest single-season skid in NBA history (see game story).

Now the Sixers embark on a three-game road trip just three shy of matching the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA-worst 26-game losing streak.

The Bulls are up first on the trip and they haven’t exactly been kind to the Sixers recently. The Sixers have lost seven of their last eight games against the Bulls, including a 102-94 defeat on Wednesday.

With the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets on tap after Saturday, the Sixers could be face to face with some dark NBA history very soon.

2. Man down
To make matters worse, the Sixers will open their three-game swing without the services of Tony Wroten.

Wroten suffered a high right ankle sprain in the fourth quarter of the Sixers’ 93-92 loss to the Knicks and did not travel with the team to Chicago. The second-year guard will likely miss next week’s games against the Spurs and Rockets too (see story).

“It was a big sprain,” Wroten said. “Just got to take it one day at a time really. It’s a high ankle sprain, it’s tough to put weight on it.”

The Sixers will certainly miss Wroten’s production. He is averaging 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game this season. However, head coach Brett Brown had recently found ways to have Wroten in the starting lineup because the lefty was putting up 18.2 points and 5.3 assists when opening the game on the court.

While Wroten sometimes has trouble harnessing his energy and finishing at the rim, the Sixers definitely could use his ability to get his own shot against the Bulls’ smothering defense.

3. This spot is reserved
Down a man in Wroten, the Sixers will need even more help from everyone else on the roster. That’s especially the case for their reserves.

The Sixers’ bench ranks 23rd in the NBA with just 28.2 points per game this season. The unit was even worse in Friday’s loss to the Knicks with only 13 points on a combined 5 for 16 shooting.

Against a Bulls team that allows 92.3 points per game, the Sixers will need all hands on deck in hopes of snapping their skid.

4. Injuries
Wroten (ankle) did not make the trip and will likely miss the Sixers’ entire road trip.

Nerlens Noel (knee) and Jason Richardson (knee) are out.

Derrick Rose (knee) is out for the season for Chicago.

5. This and that
• The Sixers are tied with Vancouver (1995-96), Denver (1997-98) and Charlotte (2011-2012) for the second-longest single-season skid in NBA history with 23 straight losses.

• The Bulls are 35-10 when scoring at least 88 points and 3-21 when they don’t reach that mark.

• Thaddeus Young has scored at least 20 points in five straight games.

• Joakim Noah is averaging 17.8 points, 12.6 rebounds and 4.6 blocks in his last five games against the Sixers.