After dropping their eighth game in twelve games against the Kyrie Irving-less Cleveland Cavaliers, the Chicago Bulls look to, once again, bounce back. Tonight's opponent: the Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams come into tonight's game limping as they both continue to miss the presence of their franchise players.
The 76ers continue to miss Andrew Bynum, though miss may not be the right word. Since the Loss Angeles Lakers shipped Bynum off last summer for Dwight Howard, Bynum has been sidelined with a knee injury and various set backs. Because of this, 76ers fans have yet to see their prized big man even step onto the court. Can't miss what you never had.
But because of Bynum's situation, 76ers fans are miserable. Their team is struggling to do most anything as they rank as the worst scoring team and as a bottom 10 rebounding team in the league. Their woes are compounded when they sit and see their players put forth little to zero effort (leading Doug Collins to rightfully blast them in a press conference) and watch players they traded away to acquire Bynum murder them (paging Nikola Vucevic).
Perhaps more miserable than 76ers fans are us Bulls fans, who continue to patiently wait for Derrick Rose's return. Throughout the course of the year, Rose's returning situation has changed greatly. At one point he could have possibly returned before the All-Star break, most of the season it was expected he'd have returned by now, and at this point there are questions of if he'll even play this season. The roller coaster ride that is Derrick Rose's return, the extremely bipolar (though mostly flat out bad) play of this year's roster, the various injuries, and the constant embarrassment of seeing the team get humiliated on national television has made Bulls fans a nice shade Violet Beauregard blue.
Given the miserable state of these two teams (injuries, recent level of play, etc) tonight's game figures to be fairly ugly and it's hard to even pick which team will suck less than the other. The only thing I can say with tonight is my advice to you all: turn off the Tv should you feel queasy at any time.
Key Matchup: Jrue Holiday vs Kirk Hinrich
I don't think there is a marquee matchup worth talking about tonight. However, for the sake of picking one, I'll go with the point guard matchup between Holiday and Captain Kirk. Holiday has been the lone ray of light for the 76ers despite the storm clouds that have swirled above Philadelphia all season. He's posting up career numbers in both scoring and assists as he made a huge leap forward this season. Without Holiday, the 76ers would surely be out of the playoff picture already. Kirk Hinrich, for all the hate I send his way, has surprisingly been Chicago's key cog thus far this season. I don't know if it's just pure coincidence or if he's actually making a difference, but the Bulls have lost the vast majority of the 15 games that he has missed this season. If by chance there is some sort of correlation, I believe Hinrich's presence could prove key tonight.