Considering how the Philadelphia 76ers have lost 24 games in a row, Saturday night's game against the Bulls would qualify as, what, a 16 seed vs. a 1 seed?
No, the Bulls aren't a 1 seed unless Derrick Rose comes back. Maybe a play-in team against a No. 2 or 3 is more appropriate.
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For the second time this week, the Bulls had their hands full with Philadelphia but once again survived and advanced with a 91-81 victory at the United Center. Next up is a rematch against Indiana at the UC on Monday.
"Even though they've lost so many games, they play hard every night," Joakim Noah said. "People don't realize how hard it is to win in this league, even against a team like that who's lost so many games in a row. I respect the heck out of that team because they play hard every night."
Respect earned, but losing streak extended. Now at 24, the 76ers rank second on the list of longest losing streaks within a single season. Cleveland set the record of 26 straight in 2010-11. Three other teams lost 23 in a row -- Vancouver in 1995-96, Denver in 1997-98 and Charlotte in 2011-12.
Before the game, Philadelphia coach Brett Brown called his squad the youngest in NBA history. Not sure if that can be proven, but the Sixers brought some good energy at the start of Saturday's game. The Bulls shot just 25 percent from the field (4-for-16) in the opening quarter and trailed 25-20.
The Bulls didn't take their first lead until D.J. Augustin's 3-pointer made it 39-38 with 1:28 left before halftime. The Bulls led the entire second half but reached their peak advantage of 12 points with 2:30 remaining in the game on another Augustin 3-pointer.
Noah led the Bulls with 20 points and did not lead the team in assists for the first time in 10 games. Jimmy Butler added 17, while Augustin and Taj Gibson scored 16 each.
The Sixers' interior tandem of Thaddeus Young (28 points) and second-year center Henry Sims (18 points, 15 rebounds) challenged the Bulls. Philadelphia won the rebounds 48-44, and the Bulls were credited with hitting just 13 of 32 shots from inside the paint.
"It was a real dogfight," Gibson said. "They really got into us, kind of like playoff basketball. You may dominate them one game. The next game it's a complete turnaround. They were on top of some rebounds, and it was real difficult tonight."
The Sixers missed their first 18 attempts from 3-point range Saturday until backup center Byron Mullens finally connected early in the fourth quarter. A night earlier against New York, the Sixers launched 41 attempts from 3-point land and made 10.
"They packed the paint, so we were getting a lot of 3-point shots and they were wide-open looks," Young said. "We just didn't make them. It is what it is, another game."
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