Despite a nice performance from Jrue Holliday, the Sixers fell to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night 96-89.
It was an ugly game that the Sixers lost, but that doesn’t necessarily make it an ugly loss for the Sixers. The Sixers and Bulls are essentially in the same camp, they’re both above-average teams—nothing more. The difference is that the Bulls are the best above-average team in the league, capable wringing their resources to the absolute maximum, while the Sixers are more dependent on their talent. Last night’s grind out game favored the Bulls style.
There was also a startling free throw disparity, 26-11 in favor of the Bulls. The Sixers didn’t even capitalize on the free throws they got, shooting only 45% from the line. Once again, that’s the kind of stat that makes all the difference in slow paced games. In fact, the Sixers won many of the statistical battles, they shot better, they rebounded better, and they blocked more shots. But it’s almost a guaranteed fact that the team that shoots more free throws will win a close game.
The Good: Jrue Holliday had a nice game. Although that needs to be looked at with a particular set of glasses, because he was being guarded by Nate Robinson most of the night. Still, despite the turnovers and the less than stellar shooting percentage, he was rightfully aggressive and his scoring kept the Sixers alive.
Rebounding: Spencer Hawes came off the bench and pulled down 10 rebounds. Other than that, it was the usual suspects, with Evan, Thad, and Jrue accounting for half of the team’s total rebounds. Still, give the Sixers credit. They outrebounded one of the better rebounding teams in the NBA.
What’s up with Dorell Wright? He only played 2 minutes. I know he’s going through a cold stretch, but it can’t be helpful for him to not see the floor at all. I’m not quite ready to accuse Doug Collins of handling this poorly, but Wright is better than this. Shooters go through slumps, but it doesn’t help your team to bench that guy into oblivion. Especially when nobody is doing that great.
Push the tempo. The Sixers definitely did this with 91 FGA to Chicago’s 78. Of course, shooting fouls don’t count as attempted field goals, so this number was probably closer than it seems.
Win the three-point contest. The Sixers shot two more threes than the Bulls and made two less. Erase that, and you’ve pretty much erased the margin of victory in this game.
Contain Joakim Noah. This didn’t happen at all. Noah shot 7-10 from the field for 21 points. He also dished out 5 assists and made all seven of his free throws. When Joakim Noah has good games, the Bulls win. Jo had a good game, and the Bulls won.
The Sixers will play the Bulls one more time this season. They'll complete the series on February 28 in Chicago. Next, the Sixers head to Indiana to take on the very beatable Pacers in a Friday night showdown. Stay tuned…
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