NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 28th (All times eastern)
Philadelphia 76ers (37-36) at Chicago Bulls (53-19), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The suddenly slumping Philadelphia 76ers face a tall task tonight when they visit a Chicago Bulls team in search of their 15th straight home win.
The Sixers, who are currently the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, two games ahead of New York, have lost two straight thanks in large part to their inefficiency on the glass.
The lowly Sacramento Kings outscored the Sixers 8-2 in the waning moments of overtime on Sunday to take a 114-111 upset over Philadelphia. To add insult to injury for Sixers fans, the unpopular Samuel Dalembert returned to score 13 points and pull down a season-high 19 rebounds before sealing the win with two free throws with 12 seconds left in the extra frame.
Dalembert, who spent his first nine NBA seasons with the Sixers, was instrumental as Sacramento dominated the boards by a 58-36 margin. In Philadelphia's previous loss at Miami, it was outrebounded by 18.
The Sixers' vaunted bench was also awful versus the Kings, scoring just 14 points on 4-for-26 shooting. Lou Williams made his first and only shot, a monster 30-foot three, at the buzzer to send the game into overtime and finished 1-for-12. Thaddeus Young was equally bad, shooting 2-for-11 and missing a number of gimmies before Sixers coach Doug Collins pulled the plug on him.
Andre Iguodala, meanwhile, continued to struggle at the free throw line, finishing 4-of-10.
Jrue Holiday and Jodie Meeks were the lone bright spots for the Sixers. Holiday finished with 28 points, one off his career-high, nine rebounds and seven assists, while Meeks had 22 points and was 8-of-11 from the floor.
Spencer Hawes, who was acquired from the Kings in the trade that sent Dalembert west, had good numbers with 16 points and 15 boards but struggled down the stretch and overtime.
"I think they came out and got their work done so give all the credit to them," Williams said.
Philadelphia hasn't lost three in a row since Nov. 23-26 but has lost by 32 points-or-more in its last two trips to the Second City.
The Central Division champion Bulls, meanwhile, kept chugging along Saturday when the dynamic Derrick Rose continued his case for MVP, finishing with 30 points and a career-high 17 assists in Chicago's 95-87 comeback victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at a raucous Bradley Center.
Rose scored eight points and assisted on the other two baskets during a game- ending 12-0 run that cemented Chicago's fourth straight win and completed a season sweep of its Central Division rival.
Carlos Boozer chipped in 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Joakim Noah added for 12 and 11 in the victory for the Bulls, who have a two-game edge over Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I can't complain about anything right now," Rose said. "Things are going good for us. You can feel the vibe in the locker room. We're rolling."
Chicago is a gaudy 32-4 overall at the United Center this season and is in the midst of its longest home winning streak since a 17-game spurt from Nov. 14, 1997-Jan. 21, 1998, the franchise's last NBA championship season.
03/28 11:03:55 ET