CHICAGO - Before last night's game against the Bulls, 76ers coach Doug Collins was asked about how well his defense was playing. Collins said that if his team didn't play well on the defensive end it was in trouble, because his group isn't capable of just outscoring other teams.
Not long after, his team proved the coach true. In one of the best arenas in the NBA to watch a basketball game, the Sixers looked on as the Bulls had their way offensively, dealing the Sixers an embarrassing, 121-76 loss and dropping them to 11-17.
Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has that great combination of speed and quickness, which pretty much allows him to get wherever he wants on the court. The Sixers provided no deterrent to Rose as the Chicago native ruled the floor with 22 points, 12 assists and five rebounds in just 29 minutes.
The Bulls (17-9), who have won eight of their last nine, made 10 of their first 14 shots in building a 27-13 lead late in the first quarter. That lead grew to as many as 20 when former Sixer Kyle Korver drained a three-pointer with 33.7 seconds left in the half for a 61-41 lead.
It got far worse in the second half. The Sixers made just four field goals in the third quarter and didn't score a point for a span of 5 minutes and 29 seconds. The Bulls upped the lead to 51, 118-67, on a driving layup by seldom-used fan favorite Brian Scalabrine with 4 minutes to play.
The Bulls were without starting big man Joakim Noah, who is out after having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, and his replacement, Taj Gibson, who suffered a concussion in a game on Saturday.
They weren't missed. Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer provided an in-out game that the Sixers couldn't stop. Deng was nearly perfect on his midrange game, making 10 of 14 shots en route to 22 points. Boozer, recently back after missing the first 15 games with an injured hand, ruled the lane, going for 16 points and 11 rebounds, while new starter Kurt Thomas did a wonderful fill-in job for Noah, posting 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Sixers were no match for Chicago's inside game, getting outscored in the paint by 52-26. Center Spencer Hawes was held scoreless in 18 minutes and Elton Brand had just six points in his 28.
The Sixers, who play at the red-hot Boston Celtics tonight (13 straight wins), were led by Andre Iguodala's 17 points. Thaddeus Young added 12.
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