Waiting For The Bulls . . . Again

The Schuylkill Expressway was (big surprise) snarled.

The van service from the remote parking lot was inexplicably delayed.

My flight to Chicago for tomorrow night's rematch is also delayed. The arriving flight is in range, but can't land because of air traffic congestion and . . . well, you know the drill.

So, while I'm waiting, here are some idle thoughts about the 76ers, whose defense has been idling through a four-game losing streak:

1) The Sixers proved in Monday night's loss to the Bulls that they can't win if the Bulls shoot 52.1 percent from the floor and 53.3 from three-point distance.

2) They also can't win if the opponents outscore them by a combined 59-32 in the middle two quarters, including a miserable 31-11 performance in the third.

3.) They say they want to run, but they're clearly not running the way they did down the stretch of last season. They should be better with the addition of Elton Brand, but seem too often to be looking over their shoulder, waiting for him.

4.) In Boston last Friday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers insisted a team can have have a post player and still run.

''I always use the Lakers as the best example--the old Lakers and even the Shaq Lakers.'' Rivers said. ''They both were fast break teams and they had big post guys, so you can absolutely do it. You should do it better, because you're a good rebounding team.''

5.) Rivers also threw the Sixers a bouquet, saying ''They'll be fine. I really believe that. It just takes time. You just don't know . . . With some teams, you make a lot of changes and you break out right away. Some, it takes time. I look at the example of Detroit (adding Allen Iverson) and Denver (adding Chauncey Billups). Detroit's going to be great by the end of the year. You know that; we all know that. You just never know how long it takes with each team. By the end of the year, (the Sixers) will be what we all thought they would be.''

6.) And here's what Celtics star Kevin Garnett said, after pointing out that he had circled last Friday's game on the schedule: ''We really wanted to make a mark. Philly's one of those teams that's definitely more improved. They're one of the dangerous teams in the East.''

7.) Cheeks had no problem with Marreese Speights taking a flgrant foul against the Celtics' Brian Scalabrine and getting ejected with 43.4 seconds left, saying ''I don 't think he did anything intentional. He pushed him. In the scheme of that game, that wasn't the worst thing that happened. I even said to the group afterward, he may not have known exactly what he was doing but at least he took a hard foul. I said 'He's a rookie, so he didn't know. He probably didn't kn ow it was going to be a flagrant foul..' He may have gotten upset the guy beat him, and he took an aggressive foul.''

That's enough. Time to find dinner in the airport.