The Bulls beat the Sixers, 117-115, on Dec. 18 in Chicago, behind a 22-point performance from Nikola Mirotic. That night, the Sixers were without Joel Embiid.
At home against the Bulls tonight, the Sixers will have Embiid, and that makes all the difference according to Dario Saric, who had a season-high 27 points in the previous meeting with Chicago.
“When you have Joel, everybody knows what he can do offensively, but defensively is the bigger point,” Saric said Wednesday morning. “He is a very important guy for us, he’s maybe the best defensive player in the league, and when he’s on the court, it’s easier for us.”
Picking up the defense, switching quickly, and being ready for Chicago to stretch the floor are all things that the Sixers are focusing on when preparing to face the Bulls.
The Sixers are still feeling the sting of Monday’s tough loss in Memphis and are hoping that a good win at home can help alleviate the pain.
“We really need to win this game,” Saric said.
The Sixers backcourt remains depleted. JJ Redick, Jerryd Bayless, T.J. McConnell, Furkan Korkmaz, and Markelle Fultz will not play. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will again be in the starting lineup.
James Young, on a two-way contract, will be available to play as well as Larry Drew II, who is on a 10-day contract with the Sixers.