Scouting report: Sixers vs. Bulls 

April, 27, 2012
4/27/12
12:45
PM PT
Tom Thibodeau won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award a year ago and deserves tremendous consideration again this year for having the Chicago Bulls back atop of the Eastern Conference. Even with last year’s MVP Derrick Rose out for 26 games this season, the team has locked down the No. 1 seed and home court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bulls are one of the top defensive and rebounding teams in the NBA. These two components have helped them return to the playoffs without Rose. But for this team to win multiple playoff series and return to the Eastern Conference finals, they need a healthy Rose. His ability to get into the teeth of the defense and create baskets for himself and others is what makes this team special offensively. Without Rose at close to 100 percent, the Bulls are relegated to way too many jump shots and cannot get past the elite teams in the East playing that way.

The Philadelphia 76ers had been melting down over the latter stages of the regular season and barely slipped into the eighth playoff position. They started the season with a stable roster from last season and raced out to a 20-9 record, doing it with defense, effort and a favorable schedule. But since that point, they have gone 15-22; this has caused them to drop from a favorable matchup with the Atlanta Hawks to playing the No 1 seed in the East, the Chicago Bulls.

As teams have rounded into shape and improved, the Sixers’ woeful offense has been thoroughly exposed. The Sixers team defense has remained stellar until recently but their offense has struggled mightily and their youth has come back to haunt them. The Sixers’ young players, who started out playing team basketball early in the season, have recently begun to complain, make excuses and worry only about themselves. This behavior does not bode well for them in the playoffs, where a team’s problems are all exposed.