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Chicago Bulls (7-7) V. Philadelphia 76ers (10-6) Preview: Oh, It’s You Again

December 1st, 2012 at 1:10 PM
By Caleb Nordgren

When last the Chicago Bulls saw the Philadelphia 76ers, the Sixers had just finished crushing what was supposed to be the Bulls' best shot at a championship in recent memory.

Game six of that series should have been a crushing loss. And it was, to some extent. But even as CJ Watson made a horrible pass to Omer Asik in the closing seconds, followed by Asik missing both free throws and Andre Iguodala making two of his own, it just didn't have the impact it should have. After all, neither Asik nor Watson should even have been in that position were it not for Derrick Rose's ACL and Joakim Noah's ankle. The gods of injury had already crippled the Bulls. The Sixers just happened to finish them off.

Now, having said that, neither of these teams bears a ton of resemblance to the teams that walked off the court back in May. The Bulls deconstructed their bench while the Sixers went through a sort of rebuilding on the fly. Iguodala was sent to Denver in return for Andrew Bynum — who has yet to play a game for them and may not play at all this year. Lou Williams and Elton Brand were sent packing. In their places are Kwame Brown, Dorell Wright, Nick Young and Jason Richardson.

The Sixers have improved offensively — or at least it feels like they should have, even if their overall efficiency numbers say otherwise — thanks to their influx of shooting, even if they're still waiting on Bynum to bring it all together. They're still solid defensively. Much like the Bulls, they rely on a balanced offense to make up for the lack of stars. The difference is that Philly has had several years of this already and they have a solid bench to back up their starters. The Bulls have been suddenly thrust into this style of offense and have a bench that has exactly one regular season game in which they were good.

Somewhat surprisingly, however, the Bulls manage to have a better offense and defense than the Sixers thus far. But the Sixers have given the Bulls problems in the past because they love to play small. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Key Matchup: Tom Thibodeau v. Doug Collins

This is kind of a cop out. There's not really any key individual matchup here because both teams are so balanced. The team that has the best gameplan and/or makes the better adjustments during the game is probably going to win here.

Tags: Andrew Bynum, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, Doug Collins, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers, Tom Thibodeau

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