Sixers-Bulls: 5 things you need to know


Sixers-Bulls: 5 things you need to know

The Sixers (15-52) return home to face the Chicago Bulls (37-30) on Wednesday night after setting the franchise record with 21 consecutive losses.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at the Wells Fargo Center.

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. A game of 21
Now what?

The Sixers suffered a 99-90 loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers on Monday to set the franchise mark for consecutive defeats with 21. They surpassed the previous record of 20 straight losses set by the 1972-73 squad.

Next on the club's docket could be the NBA record for losses in a row at home. The Sixers have already dropped a franchise-worst 16 straight at the Wells Fargo Center and are creeping up on the league record of 19 set by the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks.

The Sixers could take that next false step against a tough Bulls squad on Wednesday. Despite splitting their last eight games overall, the Bulls trampled the Sixers by 25 points the last time the two teams met on Jan. 18.

2. No Joakim around
Joakim Noah enjoys dominating the Sixers.

Whether it's because a few Philadelphia fans cheered when he got injured during a playoff series a couple years back or because he simply knows he can take advantage of a weak frontcourt, Noah takes pleasure in torturing the Sixers.

In two games against the Sixers this season, Noah is averaging 15.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 blocks and 2.0 steals. Overall, the center has scored at least 21 points in three of his last four games against them.

Henry Sims has proven to be a capable defender in the paint, but a motivated Noah might be too much to handle.

3. Downright offensive
The Sixers have struggled to score during their losing skid and it won't get any easier against the gritty Bulls.

Anchored by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Noah, the Bulls are second in the NBA in points allowed with 92.3 a game. They are also second in opponents' shooting percentage at 43.1.

The Sixers' once high-octane offense has sputtered during the team's 21-game skid. They are averaging 95.0 points over that stretch. Plus, the Sixers rank 27th in field goal percentage (43.1) and 30th in three-point percentage (30.7) this season.

All of that should add up to the Sixers' having a difficult time finding the bottom of the net on Wednesday night.

4. Injuries
James Anderson (thigh) missed the Sixers' game against the Pacers and is day to day.

Nerlens Noel (knee) and Jason Richardson (knee) are out for the Sixers.

Tornike Shengelia (flu) is day to day.

Derrick Rose (knee) remains out for the season.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have not won since beating the Boston Celtics on Jan. 29.

• The Sixers have averaged just 90.3 points in their last four home games.

• Chicago finished its recent six-game homestand with a 3-3 mark and now hits the road, where it's 16-17 this season.

• The Bulls shot 48.8 percent in their last game against the Sixers.

• One of the Sixers' eight home wins this season came over the Bulls on Nov. 2.

Brett Brown: Sixers' Nik Stauskas set for 'breakout year'

Brett Brown: Sixers' Nik Stauskas set for 'breakout year'

CAMDEN, N.J. — The irony of Nik Stauskas’ reputation as a three-point shooter is that he doesn’t view himself that way.

Stauskas was drafted eighth overall by the Kings in 2014 after shooting 44.1 percent from three over two years at Michigan. But that’s not how he envisioned himself being in the pros.

“It’s crazy,” Stauskas said after practice Thursday. “I know I was a great shooter coming out of Michigan, but I don’t consider myself a shooter. I consider myself a gamer. I don’t think I’m an effective NBA player when I just stand and spot up and shoot threes. That’s really not my game.”

Stauskas has struggled to find offensive consistency in the NBA. The third-year two-guard averaged 32.4 percent from long range in his first two seasons. He wasn’t reliable as a knockdown shooter and bounced in and out of the starting lineup last season.

Rather than being a finesse player, Brett Brown encouraged Stauskas to get aggressive. Brown wanted to a see an edge from Stauskas and not hold back at the basket.

Stauskas displayed that side to his game on opening night against the Thunder. In 23 minutes off the bench, he scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting. His only miss came on a three-point attempt. His 83.3 shooting percentage was a single-game career high.

“He was cocky,” Brown said. “He was in attack mode. He was not afraid to put it to the floor and get to the rim. I feel like he’s got a real chance to have a breakout year. We need him to have a breakout year.”

The Sixers picked up the options on Stauskas, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor on Thursday.

“I think the statement the club made on his contract lets him probably have a little bit more comfort on what we think of him,” Brown said. “I was really happy with his swagger last night.”

Stauskas is figuring out his role on the Sixers this season. It is one that can change often given injuries. A key to being successful, whether he is on the perimeter or at the rim, is feeling confident and in a rhythm on the floor.

“I had fun out there,” Stauskas said. “More than anything, I think yesterday was the first time in a while that I’ve really enjoyed myself out there and had a smile on my face.”

Sixers players 'thrown off' by anthem ordeal, figuring out how to respond

Sixers players 'thrown off' by anthem ordeal, figuring out how to respond

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers held a team meeting on Thursday to address the situation surrounding the national anthem performance on opening night. 

Sevyn Streeter was slated to sing the anthem Wednesday. She said she was replaced that night for wearing a shirt that said "We Matter.” On Thursday, Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo brought in a representative from the organization to meet with the team for around 40 minutes. 

“I think right now everybody’s learning what’s gone on, trying to gather information,” Brett Brown, who heard of the news Thursday morning, said. “Clearly our players are concerned and we hear them. We’re with them. I’m with them. I think how it’s handled going forward, how we share an inclusive sort of decision on how we deal with this moving forward will be discussed later. But right now it has been brought to the players’ attention and my attention.”

CBS3 reported Thursday that Streeter had signed a contract that barred her from making a political statement during the performance.

Brown was asked by a reporter if he would like amends to be made to Streeter.

“I think all that is on the table,” Brown said. “I think how we handle it as a group is going to be thoroughly discussed. We understand the situation and we respect the social issue involved. We completely get it. As a group, we will try to find a way to deal with this.”

The team is considering numerous options, Nik Stauskas said. He recounted there was a sense of disappointment among the players that Streeter was not able to sing. 

“I think the team, not only do we want to speak up on the matter that happened yesterday, but I feel like we’re now starting to push, like it’s not just about saying something, it’s about making a difference,” he said. “It’s about going out there and doing something. So we don’t really know what we’re going to do yet, but I know a lot of guys on this team are eager to go out there and make a difference one way or another.”

Robert Covington said many of the players were “kind of thrown off” when finding out what transpired. 

“Collectively, we talked about it, everybody expressed their emotions about it,” Covington said. “We know that we want to take steps about it. We just don’t know exactly what steps we want to take. We talked about a lot of different things. That’s one thing that, as a team, we’re very aware of now that the whole incident’s happened. It’s not something we’re going to look over. It’s just a matter of time.”

The Sixers have not set a timeline of when they will decide on a next step. Their next game is Saturday afternoon at home against the Hawks.