Game: Chicago Bulls @ Philadelphia 76ers
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Bulls +7, 76ers -7
Two streaking teams, albeit in different directions, meet tonight in Philadelphia in a clash of two of the Eastern Conference’s best teams. The home 76ers have won five of their last six games while visiting Chicago has lost four straight. The slumping Bulls have seen their defense fall apart while the Sixers’ offense has been on a tear.
Philadelphia won five in a row, four straight with James Harden in the lineup. With Harden sitting out the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday, the Sixers lost for the first time since mid-February. Philly’s offense was shut down in a 99-82 defeat at the hands of Miami. In the four games with Harden in the lineup, Philly averaged 126.5 points per game. With Harden on the floor tonight, look for that kind of pace again.
The Bulls’ defense has been without two of its best defenders – Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso – for several weeks. Over their last four games, the defense has really failed the Bulls. They are allowing 119 points per game over that span, which is almost ten points more than their season average (110.9). If the poor defense continues, the Bulls will continue to be in trouble night after night.
Both DeMar DeRozan of Chicago and Joel Embiid of Philadelphia have cooled off recently. DeRozan had a recent streak of 10 straight games of 30-plus points. He did score 29 in Friday night’s loss to Milwaukee. Embiid has scored 22 points in two straight games. Over the month of February, he averaged over 32 points per game. Embiid (29.4 ppg) still leads the NBA in scoring. DeRozan (28.1 ppg) is fourth.
Philadelphia is 4-2 ATS in its last six games and they are 4-1 SU in the last five games at home. Chicago has struggled on the road recently. Over their last 12 games away from home, the Bulls are just 3-9 SU. The Bulls haven’t had much success in Philadelphia either. Chicago is 0-7 SU in its last seven trips to the City of Brotherly Love.
The Sixers are only 12-19 ATS at home this season and 9-14 ATS when playing as the home favorite. It’s hard to say whether Harden will make a difference. The Sixers are 1-1 ATS at home in his two games there. In his four games thus far, Harden is averaging 26.8 points, 12.0 assists, and 7.5 rebounds per game. He is shooting a ridiculous 59 percent from the floor and 50 percent from behind the arc.
It’s no surprise that the Sixers have been trending Over recently. The Over is 6-1 in the Sixers’ last seven games. The Under is 4-1 in the Bulls’ last five. Philadelphia has beaten Chicago in 10 straight games. In the last three games in the series, Philly has won and covered all three games and the total has averaged 215.7 points. Two of the three games went Over the posted total.