GAME NIGHT FROM PHILADELPHIA:
Bulls (15-27, 7-13 on the road) at 76ers (26-16, 19-2 at home)
TV: NBCSC: Adam Amin and Stacey King: 6PM CT. ESPN.
RADIO: 670 The Score: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, and David Schuster: 5:45 CT pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 24 ppg. 76ers: Harris: 19 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 6 per. 76ers: Simmons: 7 per
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Satoransky: 5 per. 76ers: Simmons: 8 per
PREVIEW: It's the first of three meetings between the two teams as the Bulls aim for their second win of the season against an over.500 team. Philly has struggled on the road but at home a completely different story. The 76ers have defended their own floor with a spectacular 18-2 record with their only losses coming against Dallas and Miami.
Joel Embiid is out with a finger injury which could sideline him for up to six weeks. For Philly to go anywhere this season Embiid must stay healthy and by "healthy" I mean being able to assert himself on both ends of the floor, not just playing through pain and being used as a facilitator. It's all about mid-April and beyond for Brett Brown's team. If Embiid isn't remotely close to being healthy, Philly has no shot. The 76ers could use more productive wings and GM Elton Brand isn't afraid to make bold moves so let's withhold judgment on their playoff run until after the trade deadline next month.
Ben Simmons is a gifted player but some basketball purists have issues with his unwillingness shooting the three-ball in today's ever-changing world of analytics NBA ball. He's attempted only five this season and hasn't attempted a three-point field since December 10. There is no doubt he is an athletically gifted player. He can get to the hoop with his strength and his defensive abilities are among the elite. He leads the NBA in steals averaging just over two per game.
Al Horford is still navigating his way with the 76ers after leaving Boston as a free agent signing a four year 109 million dollar deal. He's shooting a career-low field goal percentage and rebounding.
Tonight's game is another opportunity for Zach LaVine to showcase his talents on a national stage (ESPN) along with NBCSC and of course, 670 The Score! Give me a heavy dose of LaVine and Ben Simmons please!
24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
"Game of the Night" Milwaukee 128, Boston 123: Giannis Antetokounmpo had a 32-17 night. The Bucks blew two, that's right, two 20 point leads but managed to survive. The Bucks have won five straight and post the best record in the NBA at 37-6.
New Orleans 138, Utah 132 OT: The Pelicans ended the Jazz ten-game winning streak. Brandon Ingram scored a career-high 49 points. Utah's Donovan Mitchell tied his career-high with 46 points.
Denver 134, Golden State 131 OT: The Warriors suffered their 10th straight loss.
Los Angeles Clippers 122, Orlando 95: The Magic lost to the Clippers in the second game of a Staples Center back to back after beating the Lakers Wednesday. Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points.
Phoenix 121, New York 98: Deandre Ayton scored 26 points and grabbed a career-high 21 rebounds as the Suns embarrassed the Knicks at MSG. RJ Barrett left the game with an ankle injury and did not return.
The Hawks re-acquired Jeff Teague from Minnesota in exchange for Allen Crabbe. Both players have expiring contracts. Treveon Graham was dealt to the Hawks as well.
Denver's Jamal Murray is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
Orlando Magic guard D.J. Augustin underwent an MRI which revealed left knee bone irritation. Augustin will be re-evaluated in three-to-four weeks and his return will depend on how he responds to treatment.
Always a pleasure.