Sixers-Bulls: 5 things you need to know

sixers-bulls-matchup.jpg

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.

Sixers draw high praise from Warriors after loss to NBA leader

Sixers draw high praise from Warriors after loss to NBA leader

BOX SCORE

The Warriors are the blueprint of a total team in the NBA. They have a star-studded starting lineup and a top sixth man with the positional versatility that creates hard-to-combat matchups.

Yet, as the Warriors notched their 50th win of the season, 119-108, in a collaborative effort against the Sixers, they gave credit to the potential they see in their opponent, even when Brett Brown didn't have his key pieces on the court Monday (see Instant Replay).

"They play hard," Stephen Curry said. "They have some talent to work around. Hopefully they have some consistency with their roster going forward and getting guys healthy. One thing about them, you've got to compliment their energy and effort and fight every night they play."

Facing the Warriors with a full squad is challenging enough. The Sixers did it shorthanded without Joel Embiid, who is out indefinitely with a left knee contusion (see story). They also are less than a week removed from trading starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova and the defensive-minded Nerlens Noel.

"You've got to give this team a lot of credit," Draymond Green said. "They're going to be really, really, really good. I mean, they're missing Embiid and Ben Simmons and they're really on their way."

With 10 available players, including Justin Anderson, who has had just one shootaround to actually get a run in with the team, the Sixers fought until the final buzzer sounded. Dario Saric led the Sixers with 21 points and seven assists, while also collecting seven rebounds. Gerald Henderson scored 16 and both Robert Covington and Richaun Holmes added 15 (see feature highlight). Covington also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

"They play the right way," Klay Thompson said. "They made it tough on us tonight. I'm excited to see their team when Embiid and Simmons are healthy. It should be a scary frontcourt, and with Saric. They're heading in the right direction. They'll only get better this June because they have some high picks. It's a bright future in Philly."

The Sixers held the Warriors to 6 for 29 three-point shooting (20.7 percent), including an 0-for-11 outing by Curry. This was the third time this season and only the 37th time in his career Curry missed all of his three-point attempts.

"I think he had an off night," Brown said. "I think at times we got lucky with them as a team. They didn't shoot it the way the team normally would shoot it. Some of it is I give our guys credit."

Curry took his uncharacteristic performance, which included a pair of air-balls, in stride.

"The weatherman said it was a low-pressure system that was coming and I forgot to adjust," Curry said. "One thing, [I] don't ever get down on myself. Obviously that's why I got 11 of them up and not make one. You still have confidence the next one's going in."

Still, the Warriors turned to team basketball to pull away with the win. While they struggled from long range, they found other ways to run up the scoreboard, including shooting 33 for 39 at the free throw line.

Kevin Durant led all players with 27 points to go with eight rebounds. Green recorded a 14-point, 11-assist double-double and six boards. Thompson scored 21 points and Zaza Pachulia added 16. And at the end of the night, Curry still finished with 19 points in spite of his three-point woes.

"We've been doing this for a while together now and just try to find ways to get it done," Green said. "Obviously you've got to do a lot more on the defensive end to get stops, and try to create more offense. I think it was a good effort from everybody tonight to chip in."

Added Curry: "For us to still have the moxie to withstand that and still pretty much have the lead the whole game and allow our defense to get us a win tonight was kind of our M.O."

The Warriors are a perennial title contender thanks to their balanced roster and depth of weapons. The Sixers are in the beginning stages of working toward that goal. After Monday's game, the NBA's strongest example of "team" appreciated the direction in which Sixers are moving.

"Putting this franchise back together," Green said, "it's amazing to see."

Best of NBA: Mavs top Heat, improve to 2-0 with Nerlens Noel

Best of NBA: Mavs top Heat, improve to 2-0 with Nerlens Noel

DALLAS -- Seth Curry scored 29 points, Harrison Barnes added 24 and the Dallas Mavericks beat Miami 96-89 on Monday night, handing the Heat just their third loss in 19 games.

Curry looked a little like famous older brother Stephen Curry of Golden State by hitting two long 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the latter giving Dallas a 90-89 lead. The Mavericks rallied from 14 points down in the first quarter and let an 11-point third-quarter lead get away.

Two games after scoring a career-high 31 points in a loss at Minnesota, Curry was 5 of 7 from long range to help the Mavericks improve to 2-0 with forward-center Nerlens Noel, who came from the Sixers before the trade deadline.

Goran Dragic scored 24 points for the Heat, who went scoreless over the final 4:37 as a three-game winning streak ended (see full recap).

DeRozan tops Knicks with late jumper, scores 37
NEW YORK -- DeMar DeRozan made a turnaround jumper with 1.9 seconds remaining, finishing with 37 points and leading the Toronto Raptors to a 92-91 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night.

The Raptors won their fourth in a row, doing it with DeRozan and defense after learning earlier in the day that All-Star Kyle Lowry will have right wrist surgery that could sideline him the rest of the regular season.

Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points for the Knicks, but finished a 9-for-26 night when he missed a long jumper as time expired.

Newcomers Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker were on the floor down the stretch as the Raptors clawed back from a 17-point, first-half deficit. Ibaka finished with 15 points.

Toronto moved percentage points ahead of Washington for third place in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors host the Wizards on Wednesday.

Derrick Rose and Courtney Lee each scored 16 points for the Knicks (see full recap).

LeBron leads Cavs over Bucks in return from strep throat
CLEVELAND  -- LeBron James returned from a bout with strep throat and scored 24 points, Kyrie Irving added 25 and the Cleveland Cavaliers held off the Milwaukee Bucks 102-95 on Monday night.

James missed Saturday's loss to Chicago -- the Cavs fell to 0-4 this season without their superstar -- and was listed as questionable before arriving at Quicken Loans Arena. He looked fit from the start, delivering an early dunk and adding one in the fourth that he capped by screaming, "That's and one!" at MiIwaukee's John Henson, who fouled him.

James' dunk triggered an 11-0 run that helped put away the Bucks, who were within 86-85 midway through the fourth.

Malcolm Brogdon scored 20 to lead Milwaukee, and Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored just nine on 4-of-13 shooting (see full recap).