Will the Bulls be more angry or tired after a tough loss to the Clippers late last night in Chicago? Either way, the Bulls have holes the Sixers need to attack tonight if they're going to get even for a loss earlier in the year.
Not only did Tom Thibodeau abuse his main guys with 40+ minutes last night in their loss to the Clippers, but ESPN added insult to injury by pushing the start time to 9:30pm. 43 minutes for Noah, 41 for Belinelli, 40 each for Deng and Boozer. That's a hefty workload with a short turnaround time. Push the pace whenever you can, please.
With Rip Hamilton out indefinitely, Thibs has turned to Marco Belinelli as his starting two guard. He and Kirk Hinrich minus a step-and-a-half are the weak links, and the Sixers need to attack them mercilessly. Learn from the lessons from last game and let Jrue work in isolation with Hinrich on him. Also, throw in some wrinkles and see if you can use perimeter screens to get Belinelli switched onto Turner, that's a huge mismatch.
When Hinrich goes to the bench, Jrue will have Nate Robinson on him. The Sixers don't have a game tomorrow, they had yesterday off, I'd like to see Jrue play 40+ minutes tonight so he can take advantage of the mismatches he's going to have all night. Putting Wayns in is negating the Robinson disadvantage for the Bulls.
The Bulls obviously have the advantage up front, and the bad news about last night's game is Taj Gibson only played 13 minutes (I have no idea why). Gibson really gives Thad problems. He needs to get out of the gates fast while he's got either Noah or Boozer on him (probably Noah, they'll hide Boozer on Allen and Hawes).
When the teams last met in Chicago I was expecting Thibs to pull something out to focus his defense on Jrue. He didn't, and Jrue had a really strong game. Keep your eyes on how they handle him tonight. If they start doubling him to get the ball out of his hands early, I expect to see Turner bringing the ball up the floor more often, or perhaps have the Sixers bigs come set the picks out way beyond the three-point line. Those have been Collins' typical counters. What I'd like to see is some kind of choreographed action to defeat the hard double. Flash a big to the void at the foul line, hit him with a pass, send one wing on a cut to the hoop, camp the other wing out in the corner. One of them should be open. Two quick passes for a good look.
The tip is at 7:30pm. Use this as your game thread. Tonight is a huge game. The Bulls are 3-2 since Belinelli was put in the starting lineup to replace Rip. They're probably going to be battling for playoff position with Chicago and a win tonight keeps the goal of +4 heading out West alive.