The Sixers (26-45) will hit the middle of their five-game road trip when they face the playoff-hunting Chicago Bulls (34-38) at the United Center on Friday (8 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).
Let's take a closer look at the matchup.
1. Licking their wounds
That escalated quickly.
The Sixers were blitzed in their lone visit of the season to Oklahoma City on Wednesday when they suffered a 122-97 loss. Russell Westbrook notched his 35th triple-double of 2016-17 in just three quarters.
The overriding theme from the game was the Thunder were far more physical than the Sixers. OKC shot 54.5 percent from the field, scored 76 points in the paint and outrebounded the Sixers by 34.
"It's a fantastic example for our young guys on the physicality of playoff-type teams," Brett Brown said (see story). "That side of it stood out to me more than it has in a long time. You look at (Steven) Adams and you look at (Enes) Kanter and you look at Taj Gibson and you look at the discrepancy on the boards, the rebounding differential, and it felt that. It's just a reminder, if you want to play late in April and May, maybe June one day, that's the physicality the playoffs bring."
2. Bully Bulls
The Bulls are hoping to still be playing during that timeframe Brown laid out. They are currently one game behind the Miami Heat for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago is in that position mainly thanks to its own physicality, particularly in the rebounding department. The Bulls are third in the NBA in rebounding behind Oklahoma City and Denver with 45.9 boards per game. They are No. 1 in offensive rebounding with 12.3 a night, which is also a big reason the Bulls lead the league in second-chance points with 15.4 a game.
The Bulls don't have a specific player that carries the load on the glass. Seven different guys average at least four rebounds for the team.
Moral of the story: the Bulls will fight you down low. Literally.
Starting center Robin Lopez will return to the lineup against the Sixers after serving a one-game suspension for his run-in with Toronto Raptors big man Serge Ibaka.
3. Butler is a baller
Jimmy Butler is one of those eight players who averages at least four boards for the Bulls. He also happens to do a bit more for Chicago.
Butler continues to be an all-around threat. He is averaging 23.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game this season.
The three-time All-Star has been just as sharp against the Sixers this season. Butler has put up 27.0 points, 6.0 boards and 5.0 assists per game in the two previous matchups this season.
The Sixers will need a big effort from rugged defender Robert Covington and anyone else who guards Butler to contain him.
Tiago Splitter (calf), Joel Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.
Cristiano Felicio (back) is a game-time decision. Dwyane Wade (elbow) is out for the Bulls.
5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost 12 straight to the Bulls.
• The Sixers have committed 32 turnovers in two games against the Bulls.
• Ex-Sixers point guard Michael Carter-Williams has averaged 18.3 points, 7.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds in three games against his former team.
• Jahlil Okafor has recorded 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in four games against his hometown Bulls.