Trying to spin what the Philadelphia 76ers are doing this season as anything but tanking and setting the players and head coach to lose would simply be lying to the fans, and the losing trend continued against the Chicago Bulls 102-94, making it a 22nd consecutive loss.
Only four more to go for the record if the Sixers want to make a memorable season out of this one. The group that includes Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten and Thaddeus Young probably deserve better then to go down in history as one of the worst teams in NBA history, but that is what happens when your front office wants a lot of draft picks in the next few years, and everything is about the future and not the present.
The Sixers actually hung in there for a while against a better team, but just weren’t good enough in the fourth to catch up with the small lead the Bulls were able to take. Considering how bad the Sixers defense has been this season it’s surprising to see the Bulls shoot just 43.4% from the field, but it was about a lot of open shots being missed instead of bad offense. From long range the Bulls were much more accurate, hitting 53.3% of their 3-point attempts, including an excellent night for D.J. Augustin.
One of the more surprising success stories of the season, D.J. Augustin with 20 points was once again a huge reason for the Bulls winning. He isn’t the typical Thibs player. Something of a wildcard in his basketball and far from being a great defensive presence. However, his inefficiency offensively is made up for the fact that he can generate offense on his own, making the slightly slow and sluggish Bulls look a lot more threatning, even when Joakim Noah isn’t on the floor.
Noah himself had another great game with some impressive all-around numbers. He scored 14 points to go with 10 rebounds and 6 assists, adding 4 blocks as well. The Bulls dominated the boards with 14 offensive rebounds, including five by Taj Gibson, finishing the game with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Carlos Boozer had a double double as well, scoring 12 to go with his 11 rebounds.
At the end of the game Tom Thibodeau praised his players, actually focusing on the good and not the usual negative. Maybe it’s the amatureish feeling these 76ers games bring to them that make everyone feel a bit more relaxed and easy going. Thibs talked about Brett Brown and the good job he’s done, but no one wants to be the team that actually helps the Sixers climb out of this embarassing funk they’re in.
Since winning four consecutive games in the beginning of January the Sixers have gone 3-32. We’re seeing some nice numbers from Michael Carter-Williams, finishing with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Young added 24 points and Tony Wroten had 17. There’s a solid, young foundation to build upon with this team, considering Nerlens Noel will be joining them at some point. But beyond this? A horrible bench, and the worse thing about it is the confidence that is completely out the door, which makes it difficult to see where this group is going to find the strength to actually win a game.