Lynam: 'The Sixers ran into an angry Heat team'
The Sixers (13-26) open up a three-game road trip by traveling to face the Chicago Bulls (18-20) on Saturday night.
Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (CSN) at the United Center.
Here are five things you need to know about tonight’s matchup:
1. Brick by brick
The Sixers’ recent offensive efforts won’t be showing up in instructional videos anytime soon.
They were suffocated in Friday night’s 101-86 loss to the Heat at the Wells Fargo Center, shooting only 36.9 percent from the field and 10 percent from three-point range. The Sixers have shot above 50 percent just once in their last 12 games.
Despite the Bulls’ stout defense struggling lately, don’t expect the Sixers to walk into the Madhouse on Madison and start pouring in buckets. The Sixers have averaged 87.5 points and 42 percent shooting while losing seven of their last eight regular-season games to the Bulls.
2. Literally letting them have it
To make matters worse, the Sixers have been turning the ball over at an alarming rate, even for them.
Already last in the NBA in giveaways, the Sixers have committed 47 turnovers in the last two games to push their per game average to a hefty 17.4.
The Sixers aren’t just committing dead-ball turnovers either. Their miscues are leading directly to points for the opposition. The Sixers turned it over 23 times on Friday, which led to 25 points for the Heat.
“We actually spread our turnovers around quite well,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said (see story). “You can’t just blame it all on pace … it doesn’t give you the freedom to be reckless or irresponsible. Sometimes we’re wishing things. We’re hoping things. We’re trying to will our way into making something happen. The game tells you everything -- it’s not there.”
3. Noah by nature
The Bulls always play with a high level of intensity under head coach Tom Thibodeau. That usually starts with center Joakim Noah and it’s been particularly true against the Sixers.
Since hurting his ankle in the playoffs against the Sixers in 2012 and feeling Sixers fans at the Wells Fargo Center cheered the injury, Noah has taken out his frustrations on the franchise. The big man averaged 18.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 5.0 blocks and 1.7 steals in three games against the Sixers last season.
Noah put up a modest 10 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one block and two steals in the Bulls’ loss to the Sixers back on Nov. 2. So expect the fiery center to have a bigger impact on Saturday night.
Sixers big men Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Lavoy Allen (calf, knee) are day to day.
Nerlens Noel (knee) and Jason Richardson (knee) are out.
Derrick Rose (knee) is out for the Bulls.
5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost nine of their last 11 games at the United Center.
• The Sixers have lost five of their last six overall with each defeat coming by double digits.
• The Bulls have allowed three straight opponents to shoot above 50 percent for the first time since a four-game stretch from March 4 through March 11, 2010.
• After averaging 25.6 points over an eight-game stretch, Thaddeus Young has scored 11.6 per game over the last five.