Monday, March 2, 2015

Sixers face an elite team as Chicago visits tonight

The Chicago Bulls and reigning MVP Derrick Rose visit the Sixers tonight.

Sixers face an elite team as Chicago visits tonight

Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday will have his hands full against Derrick Rose. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday will have his hands full against Derrick Rose. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)

The Sixers have lost just two games out of 13 at home this season and both those contests had a common theme; a guard on the opposition destroyed the Sixers.

In an overtime loss to the New Jersey Nets, Deron Williams went off for 34 points and 11 assists. In the other loss, against the Denver Nuggets, former Sixers Andre Miller collected 28 points and 10 asists.

So you can sort of understand why Sixers coach Doug Collins is so worried about tonight's game with the Chicago Bulls (18-5) and reigning MVP Derrick Rose, who has averaged 34.3 points in his last three games.

"He is a damn good player," said Collins. "We're going to have to try to stop him somehow, though I don't know if that is at all possible."

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Collins has said that it will be a team effort in stopping Rose and point guard Jrue Holiday, who will get the first assignment on Rose, agreed.

"Playing against him, he's the guy that fans look up to and fans want to be like him you get to test yourself and prove yourself," said Holiday. "It takes more than one person to guard him."

Now that the Sixers, who are 15-6, are starting to turn some heads in the NBA, Holiday was asked if that means there's more pressure when facing some of the elite teams in the league.

"Theres a lot more presrure that comes with it," he said. "It's all our team. We are not worried about anything else but playing together and sticking with what we know."

The Sixers have known defense very well lately, holding their last three opponents to just 71.1 points and 35.5 percent shooting from the floor.

This could be a very tough defensive battle as the Sixers are the stingiest team in the league, allowing only 86.1 points a game, while Chicago is second at 87.4.

"There's a different feeling due to the level of competition, these teams are top-notch teams," said forward Elton Brand, whose Sixers will host the Miami Heat on Friday. "These are the two teams that were picked preseason to be either one or two in the East. It's a big game for us. We can't sugar coat it. It's a big game for us. We need to play well today and Friday."

After the shootaround Collins also stated that starting center Spencer Hawes would be out again tonight due to a strained Achilles'. This is the ninth straight game the Sixers will play without Hawes.

Bob Cooney
About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at cooneyb@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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