NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 28th (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia 76ers (22-33) at Chicago Bulls (32-25), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - It seems Doug Collins is fed up with his struggling Philadelphia 76ers team.
Collins wants answers and hasn't been getting them. He hopes his latest diatribe will settle in with the Sixers, who are in the Windy City Thursday night to take on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.
The Sixers lost their season-high sixth straight game in Tuesday's 98-84 setback versus the just-as-lowly Orlando Magic, who ended a five-game slide in the process. Jeremy Pargo and Damien Wilkins scored 14 points apiece, while Dorell Wright and Evan Turner scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, in defeat.
Sixers All-Star guard Jrue Holiday entered the night averaging 25.5 ppg in his previous two games and was held to nine points on 4-of-11 shooting. However, he is posting 17.1 ppg in the last nine games.
The Sixers fell a season-low 11 games under .500 and are 6-20 when scoring less than 90 points. Another area of concern for Collins' squad is that Philadelphia has been held under 100 points in each of the last 11 games. That is the longest streak in franchise history during the shot clock era.
"I did not see this effort coming," Collins said afterward. "This is mind- numbing to me. We went up 29-20, and from that point on I couldn't even tell you what occurred."
Collins wasn't done there.
"If everybody looked at themselves as much as I did, this world would be a CAT scan," he claimed. "There's not 2 days go by that I don't go to Rod (Thorn), that I don't go to Tony (DiLeo) and say, 'What can I do? Can I do anything different? How can I be a better coach? How can I be a better leader? How can I help these guys?' Sometimes you've got to help yourself. Youth is a very blaming thing."
Defense has been an issue as evidenced by the 76ers' 0-13 record when allowing an opponent to shoot 50 percent or better. They have lost 27 in a row when that happens dating back to last season.
The Sixers lost 12 in a row from Nov. 20-Dec. 11, 2009 and look to snap an eight-game road losing streak Thursday in Chicago. Philly dropped 10 in a row as the visitor back in 2006 and hasn't prevailed on the road since New Year's Day against the Los Angeles Lakers. The 76ers are just 3-17 in the past 20 road tilts and 6-18 away from Wells Fargo Center this season.
Philadelphia will return home Saturday to host Golden State.
Meanwhile, the Bulls haven't been exactly lights out either, losing two straight and seven of 10 games. They're still just four games behind Indiana for the Central lead and will resume a three-game homestand Thursday.
The Bulls were trying to erase the memories of a disastrous 102-72 loss at Oklahoma City with the Cleveland Cavaliers in town Tuesday, but suffered a 101-98 loss. Cavs young star Kyrie Irving didn't play because of a knee issue, but rookie Dion Waiters picked up the slack with 25 points.
Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng had 27 and 26 points, respectively, for the Bulls, while Kirk Hinrich registered 11 points and 11 assists in his return to the lineup. Hinrich had missed three straight and 10 of 11 games because of an elbow injury.
"We have to keep grinding and get back on track. In the NBA every team is tough and there are no guaranteed wins," Hinrich said. "They played hard and they played well. We need to get back to where we were and start finishing games and make no excuses."
Chicago forward Taj Gibson is expected to miss at least two weeks with a knee injury. That doesn't bode well for depth.
The Bulls will close out the homestand Saturday versus Brooklyn and are 15-14 at the United Center this season. Chicago is winless in three straight at home.
Chicago has won the first two meetings with the Sixers this season and is aiming for its first season sweep in this series since 1996-97 (4 games). The Bulls have won four in a row against Philadelphia, which has lost two straight and six of its last seven contests at the United Center.
02/28 10:30:07 ET