PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (22-33)
at CHICAGO BULLS (32-25)
Tip-off: Thursday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Chicago -7, Total: 179
Both the 76ers and the Bulls are desperate for a victory when the two square off in Chicago on Thursday night.
The Sixers haven't won a road game since New Year's Day, logging eight straight defeats (2-6 ATS) away from home. And Philly hasn't won any game since beating the Bobcats on Feb. 9, dropping six straight contests overall, including a 14-point home loss Tuesday to a dreadful Magic team. The Sixers offense has been atrocious, having not surpassed 93 points in 11 straight games, and averaging a mere 86.5 PPG on 41.9% FG (31.1% threes) during this stretch. The Bulls are also struggling though, having lost five of their past seven games, going 0-3 (SU and ATS) at home during this slump. Chicago has taken both meetings this season, and since 2009, it is 8-2 SU at home versus the Sixers, outscoring them by 10.2 PPG. However, the Bulls are the NBA's worst home wager this season at 7-22 ATS (24%).
Which team will end its losing skid on Thursday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. For NBA Best Bets, StatFox Scott is in the midst of a monster run, going 28-9 ATS (76%) since Feb. 3, and improving his season record to an impressive 58.3% ATS (98-70-1). The experts are a collective 32-23 ATS (58%) in the past eight days and are 57.3% ATS (90-67) in the month of February. StatFox Gary is a sizzling 8-3 ATS (73%) since Feb. 20, and 63% ATS (17-10) for the month of February. For NBA Totals, Scott is 6-1 (86%) in the past six days to raise his season mark to 57% (82-62) in Totals. Gary is 21-18 (54%) in NBA Totals since Jan. 25.
Philadelphia is going through its worst stretch in the past few years. The team has lost six straight games (2-4 ATS) and they are playing uninspired basketball. Head coach Doug Collins has tried to fire his team up, but they’ve rarely given him anything to be happy about. The one bright spot, as he’s been all season, is Jrue Holiday’s play at the point guard position. Despite struggling Tuesday against the Magic (9 points), the first-time All-Star is averaging 18.4 PPG, 7.6 APG, 4.4 RPG and 1.4 SPG over the past five contests. He has been doing this while shooting 46.3% from the field and 43.8% from three. Holiday also lit up Chicago for 24.5 PPG (49% FG) and 8.0 APG in two meetings this season. SG Evan Turner has played pretty well as of late also, averaging 16.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.6 APG over the past five games. The Sixers backcourt has been playing well, but inconsistent play in the paint has haunted Philadelphia all season. That is something the team envisioned C Andrew Bynum would fix, but the big man has been out all season with a knee injury with no timetable on when he'll be able to return. SF Thaddeus Young has had a great season series against Chicago, scoring 17.5 PPG on 62% FG to go along with 8.0 RPG and 4.0 BPG in the two games.
The Bulls have now lost two straight games and are really looking to get back into the win column. They went to Oklahoma City and were blown out on national television by 30 points, and then lost by three at home to 8.5-point underdog Cleveland. One player the Bulls have been able to rely on as of late has been PF Carlos Boozer. Last game, Boozer had 27 points (13-of-20 FG), five rebounds and 4 assists. He was keeping them alive all game, but didn’t receive much help from the rest of his teammates offensively. SF Luol Deng was the one exception, tallying 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists versus the Cavs. Deng has dominated the Sixers this season with 22.0 PPG (52% FG), 9.5 RPG and 5.0 APG. C Joakim Noah has also played at a high level versus Philly with 16.5 PPG (52% FG), 10.0 RPG, 6.0 APG and 2.0 BPG in the two meetings. A player the Bulls desperately need to start performing better is PG Nate Robinson. Robinson has seen big minutes at the point guard position, but he hasn’t been delivering lately. Over the past five games, Robinson is averaging 10.0 PPG, but he is shooting just 30.8% from the field with a paltry 3.0 APG. The Bulls are desperately awaiting the return of Derrick Rose and when they get him, they’ll finally have the play at the point position that they have been waiting for.