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Bulls Avoid Getting Deep "Sixed"...Barely 3 Lessons Learned!

Boy, it looked like a streak was going down for a second in the last five minutes didn’t it. Let’s be real, let’s be honest, the Chicago Bulls ESCAPED the Philadelphia 76ers winning 102-94. Umm, I don’t want to kick the Sixers when they are down, but doing my job definitely fits the description based on these numbers. Warning: If you are a Philadelphia 76ers fan or Will and Jada Smith, ignore the next few sentences and go to the next paragraph. The Philadelphia 76ers have lost 22 straight games. The Sixers have lost 17 straight at home. The last time the Sixers won a game in Philadelphia was January 15, 2014. If you are scoring at home that is over two months. Philadelphia as a franchise is approaching some real gutter level company. Some of these franchises are…

1) Charlotte Bobcats (2011-12) 23 straight.

I was the WGIV 103.3  radio correspondent for the Charlotte Bobcats during this sad sorry season. I really think the reason this streak wasn’t higher because it was a strike shortened season. The Bobcats ended the season as the worst percentage-wise team in NBA history. Yes that includes the 72-73 Sixers whose streak this Sixers team has  already passed already. Does anyone remember a team named the Steamrollers? Sure you don’t because they were in existence in 1948! This team was so bad I had to change  my sports format to comedy because I ran out of ways to tell fans why the Bobcats lost. I mean how many ways can you tell people the Charlotte  Bobcats stink? They finished 7-48 that season.

2) Vancouver Grizzlies (95-96) 23 straight.

I hope Memphis appreciates the team they have down there. At this moment they are in the Western Conference playoff chase. This team in Vancouver back in 1995-96 was in a lottery chase. The Vancouver Grizzlies were laying a solid foundation to relocate with this awful season. I will not lie though, those jerseys were nice!!! The basketball  on the other hand was not!

3) Denver Nuggets (97-98) 23 straight.

I want everyone to stop and think for a second. Think about the color scheme for the Nuggets right now…powder blue right? Okay back then the Nuggets had dark blue and brown colors. This team was so bad that season, they hired then GM Kiki Vandeweghe to run the squad. The first thing he did was change the color scheme to get rid of the memory of that season. No lie! Since he was from UCLA, he used the Bruins color scheme. Bryant Stith  is still rolling over in his grave over that squad!

4) Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-11) 26 straight.

This was the season that LeBron James was traded to the Miami Heat (Yep, he was traded…sign and trade). The jerseys were burned, Kyrie Irving hadn’t come to town yet, and Dan Gilbert wrote that Dear Fan letter that the Cleveland Cavaliers would win a championship before LeBron would. Uh, yeah and I just got home from a hot date with Beyoncé. The Cavaliers went on to lose a NBA record 26 games that season. It got so bad that the second time LeBron came to town some of the fans stopped booing LeBron and cheered. If there are people out there that thinks LeBron is overrated, take a long look at this franchise. Gilbert was so hurt, he changed the uniform style that year to try to erase the memory of the LeBron era (like this really works as long as Google or Bing is still in business.)

How bad is the Sixers streak? If you watch SportsCenter they have special graphics made of Philly’s schedule through to the end of the year. As a Newscast Director (this is my Jordan Dream) I can tell you if ESPN lays out graphics like those, that means everybody thinks this streak could be broken. It was almost done  last night. Here’s what I learned.

1) This team does not bring it every night.

If the Chicago Bulls had played anyone besides these Sixers or the Milwaukee Bucks, they would have lost this game. The Philadelphia 76ers was actually competitive in this game which is totally ridiculous playing a team that is chasing the 3rd seed. They let Byron Mullens who probably hasn’t scored 12 points in the month of March go off for 12 points in 15 minutes with consecutive three pointers to keep the Sixers in the hunt. The Bulls have a very bad habit of letting bad teams stick around with the offensive lulls that they have. These lulls happen because the offensive movements are sluggish and lazy. They lead to turnovers (15) that is not going  to fly in the playoffs. The possessions get more important and execution is paramount for success. Joakim Noah had 1/3 of the team’s total with five. If the Bulls are going to continue with the high post offense being run through him, the mistakes have to be cut down. Some of the turnovers are not his fault. The back cuts are telegraphed so the defense can see the pass coming. This needs to be cleaned up.

2) Kirk Hinrich was a liability.

Here’s Kirk Hinrich line for the night. Three points, two assists and four fouls. Anyone think that this may be a problem? There was a time this season I was praying that this guy would be traded. Games like this is the reason why. There  are Pippen Peoples that ask me all the time, “Why not start DJ Augustin?” Games like this are the reason why they ask. The answer is simple. Coach Tom Thibodeau is a creature of habit. He trusts Kirk Hinrich in the starting lineup and he’s a better defender than Augustin. However if he can’t stop Michael Carter-Williams (16 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) or Tony Wroten (17 points, six rebounds, seven assists) and can’t shoot straight, I ask for the Pippen Peoples…Why isn’t DJ Augustin starting? Just sayin. By the way DJ Augustin led the Bulls with 20 points including huge shots down the stretch to seal the win.

3) If all three guys in the frontcourt…Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson play like they did last night on a consistent basis, the Bulls will get out of the first round of the playoffs.

Breaking News! Boozer did something positive in this game! He scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds with two assists and a blocked shot. Furthermore he didn’t gun a whole bunch of shots before the third quarter was over. He shot 5-9 from the field. See Carlos, I do report the good things you do. When and if you do them. Joakim Noah looked for his offense more in this game scoring 14 points. He also did his usual stat stuffing things grabbing ten rebounds and dishing out six assists. It’s good he took some shots (12) in this game because if he makes himself a threat to score, teams are going to adjust to him passing the ball which will lead to turnovers. He has to keep them guessing. Taj Gibson has  19 points and 13 rebounds off the bench. Are the Blues Brothers putting the band back together? If Boozer gets some act right, these three can give their first round opponent the blues.

The Bulls are  going to have to play better. The number one seed Indiana Pacers is next up.

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