Basketball in Philadelphia is back. Philly fans have been lobbying for some national respect for their 15-6 start to the 2011-2012 season, and their wishes may have been granted with Wednesday night’s thrashing of the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls, 98-82.
As impressive as the 76ers run has been, their only “quality” wins came against a Danny Granger-less Indiana Pacers and an Al Horford-less Atlanta Hawks. While some may continue the trend with tonight’s win being against a Bulls team missing key contributors in Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton, this one should leave a resounding impression across the NBA that the 76ers are for real.
The Bulls came out of the gate looking like the team that is leading the Eastern Conference and in the elite class of the NBA with reigning Most Valuable Player of the NBA Derrick Rose scoring seven of his 15 first-half points in the first quarter. However, it was the 76ers who led after the first frame, mainly due to the play of Andre Iguodala.
Iguodala, often scorned in Philadelphia for his massive, $80 million contract, led the 76ers with 19 points and nine rebounds, including a couple of crowd-pleasing dunks and passes. Iggy got a lot of help from his supporting cast with three of the five 76ers’ double-figure scorers coming off the bench.
Thaddeus Young scored 19 points along with eight boards of his own, and Lou Williams once again added 14 points. With Spencer Hawes and Nik Vucevic still out with injuries, Lavoy Allen continued to impress with a career-high 15 points.
With the number one (Chicago) and number two (Philadelphia) defensive teams in the NBA facing off, mistakes would go a long way in deciding the victor of the matchup and it proved true tonight.
The harassing defense of the 76ers caused the Bulls to turn the ball over 17 times, leading to 29 points. Known as a team that likes to run the court, the 76ers had 21 fast break points to just four for the Bulls. Secondary stat categories like fast break points and points off turnovers are vital for teams like the 76ers who aren’t built to be stat stuffers.
Rose finished with 18 points and C.J. Watson added 20 points off the bench. The Bulls did not feature another scorer over nine points. This is twice the Bulls have experienced 16-point defeats this season with the first coming in Memphis last month. Chicago followed that game with a 23-point beat down against the Phoenix Suns. Philadelphia is hopeful history repeats itself as the Bulls travel to New York to face the Knicks tomorrow night.
About the Author
Written by Mike Rapine
Graduated last year from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Mathematics with a focus in Statistics. I was a member of their baseball team and overall have a sense of sports from not just the average fan's perspective. Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where we fall in love with our sports teams each year, despite the preconceptions of a playoff demise ultimately happening. Obviously, any opinions are personal in nature and should be taken as my own.