76ers vs. Bulls Preview & Prediction

The Chicago Bulls are on the cusp of clinching home-court advantage in the 1st round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, and a win over the young Philadelphia 76ers could be enough to help salt away either the #3 or the #4 seed with the 2014-15 NBA season winding down.

Projected Starting Lineups

Philadelphia 76ers (18-61)

G Ish Smith – 12.4 ppg, 6.0 apg

G Robert Covington – 13.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg

F Jerami Grant – 6.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg

F Furkan Aldemir – 2.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg

C Henry Sims – 8.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg

Chicago Bulls (47-32)

G Derrick Rose –18.1 ppg, 4.9 apg

G Jimmy Butler – 20.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg

F Mike Dunleavy – 9.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg

F Pau Gasol – 18.4 ppg, 11.8 rpg

C Joakim Noah – 7.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg

What to watch for:

Can Chicago get hot heading into the playoffs?

The Chicago Bulls started the season off strong with a 22-9 spurts, but have gone just 25-23 since. Chicago has only one winning streak of three games or more since the calendar turned to 2015, and their on-again, off-again offense has been frustratingly inconsistent as the months have worn on. It's up to Chicago to maximize the return of Derrick Rose while keeping Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol at the forefront of their attack. Saturday's game against a 76ers squad full of journeymen could be a good place to get things fine tuned heading towards the postseason.

Prediction: Bulls win 103-87

There's some silver linings to be had in Philly with the backcourt play of Ish Smith and Robert Covington, but that won't be enough to stay in it against a Bulls team with plenty to play for. Chicago will run away as the second half winds down.

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