The Chicago Bulls’ last attempt at a four-game winning streak resulted in one of their worst losses of the season.
The Bulls look to avoid a repeat when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
Chicago (38-28) is coming off its third straight win - a 95-87 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday to sweep a home-and-home set between the teams. Rookie Tyrus Thomas scored a career-high 23 points and Ben Wallace added 19 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Wallace made nine of a career-high 21 field goal attempts for his second consecutive double-double and eighth of the season.
“Me and B.G. (Ben Gordon) switched roles,” he said after Chicago won for the sixth time in seven games. “I had some good looks. When the guards get doubled-teamed or tripled-team we have to help them out any way we can. I was open and trying to take the pressure off Kirk (Hinrich) and B.G. tonight.”
The Bulls are trying for their first four-game winning streak since a five-game run Dec. 11-19. Chicago has won three consecutive games on five other occasions since, but came up short in the fourth game each time. Most recently Chicago won three straight Feb. 28-March 4, but suffered their most lopsided loss of the season March 7, 103-70 to the Miami Heat.
Chicago also looks to continue its newfound success on the road. The Bulls are just 13-20 away from the United Center, but they have won their last two games away from home and four of their last six.
Currently four games behind the Detroit Pistons for first place in the Eastern Conference, Chicago’s best chance at making a run at the top spot may be in the next two weeks. Five of the Bulls’ next six opponents have records below .500.
The Bulls and 76ers (25-39) have split two meetings this season, with each team winning at home. Philadelphia won 123-108 on Nov. 24, while the Bulls won 121-94 on Dec. 6 at the United Center.
The Sixers had their season-high seven-game winning streak snapped with a 104-92 loss at the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday. Andre Iguodala led the team with 18 points and Andre Miller added 10, but the other three starters combined for just 15 points.
Philadelphia was outrebounded 47-33 and allowed 22 second-chance points.
“Our defense was very poor, and we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds,” said Kyle Korver, who had 13 points. “We didn’t play very smart basketball, and that got us crushed on the boards. When you put those two things together, it doesn’t matter who you play in the NBA, you’re going to get beat.”
The 76ers remain a longshot to reach the postseason, in 12th place in the East, 4 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot. They are looking for their eighth straight win at home, a feat they have not accomplished since winning their first 10 home games of the 2002-03 season.