October 18, 2018
By Mike Greger
The Philadelphia 76ers have their home opener tonight at Wells Fargo Arena when they take on the Chicago Bulls. Hers is how we are breaking down tonight’s game.
Philadelphia 76ers Vs Chicago Bulls Preview
The Sixers (0-1) enter tonight’s match-up with the Bulls (0-0) with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. Everyone said they wouldn’t beat the Celtics in the opener Tuesday night. True to form, they didn’t. More importantly, the team flashed many flaws in the 105-87 loss, including a painfully short bench, a dismal perimeter game and the inability to compete on the offensive glass. On the bright side, they were lucky to lose by only 18 points. They have 81 more games to figure it out – and they will. It all begins on their homecourt in what should be a soft match-up with the Bulls. Here’s how we are breaking it down:
Kris Dunn vs. Ben Simmons: Dunn, the fifth overall pick in 2016, is facing the cross-roads of his short career. He was a backup in Minnesota before being shipped to Chicago, only to miss 30 games due to injury. Dunn shot 57 percent from the field, while dishing out 3.6 dimes and 8.2 points per game in the preseason. Simmons showed that he’s a generational talent against Boston and fell two assists short of a triple double. His no-look, behind-the-back toss to Markelle Fultz for an easy lay-up was highlight reel. His defense was stifling and forcing Kyrie Irving into bad decisions all night. Advantage: Sixers
Zach LaVine vs. Markelle Fultz: LaVine is the Bulls’ $78 million man and they are counting on him to dominate. He’s rebounding from injury – torn ACL in 2017 – but averaged 17.8 points in 22.3 minutes in his first preseason game. Fultz is trying to repair his shaky image in Philadelphia, too. He was used sparingly in the opener, scoring five points in 24 minutes where he was relegated to the bench in crunch time. Fultz and JJ Redick should both have their hands full here. Advantage: Bulls
Bobby Portis vs. Dario Saric: Portis assumes the starting role due to an injury to Lauri Markannen. While the Bulls will see a huge downgrade on offense, they might be better at the other end. Portis is their defensive stopper and excels in the low post. Meanwhile, Saric looked out of sorts Tuesday night in the Sixers’ opener as he dealt with early foul trouble and scored six points in 22 minutes. Advantage: Sixers.
Justin Holiday vs. Robert Covington: Holiday will start over Jabari Parker as coach Fred Hoiberg tries to mix it up and inject some life into his bench. Holiday averaged 12.2 points and 4.0 rebounds across 31.5 minutes last season. He draws an unfavorable match-up against Covington. He is one of the NBA’s best defenders, but he needs to shoot better than the 30 percent he did against Boston. Advantage: Sixers
Wendell Carter vs. Joel Embiid: Carter gets to go mano-a-mano versus one of his childhood heroes. Imagine that: 19-year-old rookie looking up to 24-year-old veteran. Carter’s calling card is defense and finished with 76 blocks and 335 rebounds last year at Duke. He’ll have to avoid foul trouble, something that plagued him in college, when he starts battling with Embiid. The Sixers’ big man is known for his trash talking and put a put on a clinic Tuesday night, with 23 points and 10 boards. Advantage: Sixers.
Prediction: The Bulls are very young and inexperienced, and the Sixers are hungry – no, starving — after losing their opener in Boston. This shouldn’t be close – at all. All eyes once again will be on Fultz to finally bust out, but look for Saric to steal the headlines. Sixers win, 101-79.
What to look for if you are playing this game on www.statementgames.com
- Sixers WIN by OVER 11.5 PTS – The Bulls are playing on the road without their best player, with the Sixers coming off a very disappointing loss. This has all the makings of a blowout.
- Ben Simmons WILL go OVER 15 PTS and 10 Assists – Simmons is a triple-double machine, and narrowly missed one in their opener. He might rack this up by the end of the third quarter.
- Bobby Portis OVER 7.5 rebounds – Call it a hunch, but the Bulls need someone to clean up the glass and we’re expecting a lot of missed shots in this one. Portis can bang with the best of them.