Bulls - 76ers Preview
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 27, 2012 7:40PM
The Bulls wrapped up their abbreviated 66-game regular season with a dominating win over the Cleveland Cavs on Thursday night, reaching the impressive 50-win mark and clinching home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs. As the Eastern Conference's top seed, the Bulls will face the eighth seed, which went to the Philadelphia 76ers on account of their Thursday night loss. The Bulls welcome the Sixers to the United Center on Saturday afternoon as the playoffs kick off the first round.
During the regular season, the Bulls and Sixers played three times. Philly won the first meeting 98-82, on one of the Bulls rare flat nights. The Bulls won the other two meetings 96-91 and 89-80. Derrick Rose missed the final regular season game these two teams played.
The Bulls enter the series about as healthy as they've been all season. While Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver sat to rest against Cleveland on Thursday, they're all ready to go on Saturday. So, too, are Rip Hamilton and C.J. Watson, who both missed significant portions of the season to various ailements. With the Bulls finally healthy, we don't see them having any issues with the Sixers in the opening round. While the Sixers have used a strong second team to their advantage, the Bulls have the deepest bench in the league, and because of the injuries to Rose, Deng and Hamilton, they've seen big minutes and made big contributions during the regular season.
While the Sixers have a deep and cohesive team, Doug Collins just doesn't have the talent to match up to his former team. Maybe Philly can steal a game in this series, particularly if Derrick Rose continues to show some rust from his time off. But the Bulls should sweep the Sixers and move on to the second round. And hopefully remain healthy while doing so.
Game 1 - Sat., 4/28 Chicago 12:00 p.m. (CSN & TNT / ESPN 1000 AM)
Game 2 - Tues., 5/1 Chicago 7:00 p.m. (CSN & TNT / ESPN 1000 AM)
Game 3 - Fri., 5/4 Philadelphia 7:00 p.m. (CSN & ESPN / ESPN 1000 AM)
Game 4 - Sun., 5/6 Philadelphia 12:00 p.m. (ABC / ESPN 1000 AM)
Game 5* - Tues., 5/8 Chicago TBD (CSN & TBD / ESPN 1000 AM)
Game 6* - Thurs., 5/10 Philadelphia Time TBD (CSN & TBD / ESPN 1000 AM)
Game 7* - Sat., 5/12 Chicago Time TBD (CSN & TNT / ESPN 1000 AM)
* If necessary