Game Notes: Sixers at Bulls
Philadelphia gets their bell rung.
by Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford
It was a country butt-kicking.
Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to write such a simplistic game summary, but if you watched last nights game between the Chicago Bulls and the Philadelphia 76ers, you’d know that’s exactly what it was; a beat down. And even if you didn’t watch the game, just looking at the final score would clearly indicate that one team came to play and the other one didn’t.
At one point in the game, Chicago led Philadelphia by 51 points and were on pace to set the 4th highest field goal percentage in team history. But the Bulls took their foot off the gas and instead of breaking the record for largest margin of victory in the history of the franchise, they won by a paltry 45 points, defeating Philadelphia 121-76 in their last home game before Christmas.
Coming off a game that they should’ve won on Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Bulls decided it best to take out the anger and frustration from that loss out on Philly who had come in winners of 8 of their last 11 games.
“[Tonight] was very much an aberration,” said 76ers Head Coach Doug Collins.
“I knew the first three minutes of the game, we had no juice. They ran the same play, I think, like six or seven times. We gauge really where we think we’re going to be in a game by our first ten possessions. I think they scored eight of their first ten possessions and I looked at our coaches and I said, ‘Our guys, they’re not there tonight.’
“For whatever reason, we just weren’t there. I don’t know if it was a couple of nights in between games in the same city and it’s that time of the year where you’re out Christmas shopping and getting stuff taken care of, but they jumped all over us and did whatever they wanted to do.”
The Bulls — already shorthanded without Joakim Noah – decided to sit Taj Gibson for precautionary reasons as a result of the concussion he sustained in the game against the Clippers and turned to 38-year-old veteran big man Kurt Thomas who stepped in nicely and filled the void on the front line by contributing 12 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocked shots in 28 minutes on the floor.
“I just do what I’ve always been doing — defend, rebound, set screens and hit open shots,” said Thomas, the second-oldest player currently active in the NBA behind Shaquille O’Neal.
“[Kurt Thomas] has been doing it for a hundred years,” quipped Tom Thibodeau on the solid play of his veteran big man. “He’s a smart player, plays good body-position defense, great communicator, sets great screens, and he can shoot.”
With such a large lead, Thibodeau was able to rest his starters the entire 4th quarter and Derrick Rose appreciated an opportunity to be a cheerleader for the rest of his teammates given such a large margin on the scoreboard.
“It feels good. I’ve been on the other side. I’ve lost by 42, I’ve lost big in preseason games before and it feels bad. But I’m happy that I’m on the other side of it today.”