Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls Preview and Pick

Philadelphia 76ers +6.5 (40-37) at Chicago Bulls -6.5 (38-40) O/U 202 8 PM ET Thursday April 9, 2009 on TNT
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Philadelphia 76ers travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bulls. It looks as if the Bulls will make the post season, as they have a 3 game lead over the Charlotte Bobcats with 4 games to play. The Bulls are tied with the Detroit Pistons for the 7th seed in the East trailing the 6th place 76ers by 2.5 games.

The 76ers only trail 5th place Miami by .5 games, but they will have a hard time catching them the way they are playing. On Sunday they scored a season low 67 points in a loss to New Jersey and then lost to Charlotte 101-98 on Tuesday night for their 3rd straight road loss. It does not get any easier for the 76ers after tonight’s game, as they still have 2 games against Cleveland and one against Boston.

The Bulls have climbed back into the playoff picture because of their play at home, as they have won 12 of their last 13 games at the United Center. The Bulls are 7-3 in their last 10 games including winning their last 2 and while the 76ers are 6-4 in their last 10 they have dropped 2 in a row.

This season the Bulls are 26-12 at home and the 76ers are 16-22 away from the City of Brotherly Love.

Hoops bookies have the Bulls as 6.5-point favorites in this game with a total around 202. The Bulls are posted at -200 as home favorites and the 76ers are posted at +170 as road dogs.

The 76ers come into this game after losing to the Charlotte Bobcats 101-98 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for the 76ers in that game was Andre Miller going for 23 points on 8/13 shooting. For the game the 76ers shot 35/83 for a FG% of 42.2%. On D the 76ers allowed the Bobcats to shoot 34/74 for a FG% of 45.9%.

The Bulls come into this game after beating the New York Knicks 100-103 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for the Bulls in that game was Kirk Hinrich coming off the bench to score 25 points on 9/16 shooting. For the game the Bulls shot 39/90 for a FG% of 43.3%. On D the Bulls allowed the Knicks to shoot 41/81 for a FG% of 50.6%.

This season the Bulls rank 8th in scoring (102.1 ppg) and the 76ers rank 22nd (97.2 ppg). On defense the 76ers rank 11th in points allowed (96.7 ppg) and the Bulls rank 21st (102.6 ppg). The 76ers are a better team on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of +1.9 rpg, while the Bulls are in the negative at -0.4 rpg.

This season the Bulls are 39-37-2 ATS and the 76ers are 36-40-1. In terms of Over/Under games the Bulls are 43-35 this season and the 76ers are 36-39-2.

On the injury front neither team is reporting any significant injuries.

It does not look as if the 76ers will host a first round playoff series so they need to win this game to give them some confidence knowing they can win on the road.

Unless the Bulls move into the 6th position it looks as if they will be playing either Cleveland or Boston in the first round, which is far from a good match up for them.

The winner of the game may be the winner of the PG match up. In looking at Andre Miller (16.2 ppg 6.6 assists per game) and Derrick Rose (16.6 ppg 6.2 assists per game) their stats are almost identical. Rose is more of a slasher and Miller needs to play good perimeter D on home and force Rose to take the outside shot.

In looking at the leading rebounders for each team Drew Gooden is still listed for the Bulls yet is now in San Antonio and Elton Brand is still listed for the 76ers yet is gone for the year due to injury. The Bulls do not have much inside presence and they will need to keep the 76ers off the boards tonight and not allow them to have too many 2nd chance opportunities.

Both of these teams are solid on the outside, but soft on the inside so the team that can burry the outside shot has the advantage.

The 76ers are legit on defense and they have to slow down the tempo of the game and not allow the Bulls to run and gun and get easy transition baskets.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Bulls to cover the spread here.