The Chicago Bulls have definitely turned things around after losing their first nine games of the season.
The Bulls get another chance to impress hard-to-please coach Scott Skiles as they host the Philadelphia 76ers.
Chicago has won four straight and 10 of 13 after posting a 94-85 victory over Golden State on Monday. Othella Harrington scored a season-high 20 points in his second straight start in place of Antonio Davis, and Kirk Hinrich had 14 points and nine assists as the Bulls handed the Warriors their sixth straight loss.
It wasn’t enough to please Skiles, whose Bulls committed 18 turnovers but forced 21 and held Golden State to 33 percent from the field.
“I am happy with the win again. I am not happy with the way we played,” Skiles said. “This is the fourth game in a row where we lost something. We have not been nearly as sharp at almost every spot on the floor.”
The 36-year-old Davis has been sidelined with a sore right hip, but Harrington has recorded 39 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in the last two games. Harrington, who does not turn 30 until the end of the month, is the third-oldest member of the Bulls.
With the team’s resurgence generating some excitement, Skiles offered a bit of a reality check after Monday’s win.
“I don’t want to seem like I’m down when we win a game, but there’s been an awful lot of talk recently about how great we are doing,” he said. “We have young guys that are really impressionable. I’m answering questions about should people be on the All-Star team. We are getting a little ahead of ourselves. We are still a very young team that has a long way to go.”
While it may be too early to discuss All-Star selections, Hinrich may be worthy of some consideration. The only member of the Bulls to start every game, the 6-foot-3 Hinrich is averaging 16.9 points and 6.9 assists with just 2.3 turnovers per game.
Chicago has taken advantage of a favorable portion of the schedule as it is facing a sub-.500 team for the fifth consecutive game. After hosting the 76ers, the Bulls have a home-and-home series with the Atlantic Division-leading New York.
Philadelphia could not take advantage of facing a Portland team that was playing for the third time in four nights as the 76ers were beaten 109-100 on Monday night.
Rookie Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 22 points and Allen Iverson had 21 points, nine assists and nine rebounds. Iverson missed Friday’s loss at Minnesota with a sprained right ankle and left Monday’s contest early in the fourth quarter after falling hard while driving to the basket.
“I wasn’t hurt. I was fine,” Iverson said. “I was ready to go back in, but I’m not the coach. I’m a soldier.”
Philadelphia was playing its first home game since Dec. 20 following a 5-3 record on its longest road trip of the season. The Sixers allowed the Blazers to hit a season-high 14 3-pointers on 26 attempts.
“When you get home, you think you’ll get calls and you think your fans will win the game for you,” Iverson said. “You think you don’t have to work as hard as you did on the road. Guys tend to think everything will be a cakewalk. That wasn’t the case.”
STANDINGS (through Jan. 10): 76ers - 2nd place (tied), 1 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Bulls - 4th place, 6 GB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: 76ers - Iverson, 28.6 ppg and 7.2 apg; Dalembert, 6.3 rpg. Bulls - Hinrich, 15.9 ppg and 6.9 apg; Chandler, 9.2 rpg.
SEASON SERIES: 76ers, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 10; 76ers, 93-88. At Chicago, Iverson had 22 points and 10 assists and Dalembert had 13 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots in his first start of the season as the Sixers withstood a late 10-0 run by the Bulls.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: 76ers - 8-11 on the road; Bulls - 10-9 at home.