Sixers vs. Bulls: Storylines to watch, including Zach LaVine against Matisse Thybulle

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LaVine-Thybulle matchup worth watching in Sixers' meeting with hot Bulls originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Sixers can seal a 4-0 homestand Wednesday night.

Here are the essentials for their game against the 6-1 Bulls: 

  • When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:15 p.m. 

  • Where: Wells Fargo Center 

  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia 

  • Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app 

And here are three storylines to watch:

Who are the next men up? 

Tobias Harris (health and safety protocols), Danny Green (left hamstring tightness) and Ben Simmons (personal reasons) are out against Chicago.

The Sixers closed Monday’s win over Portland without those three players, as well as a resting Joel Embiid. The four-time All-Star is expected to be back in the lineup.

“I think that’s been our motto the whole preseason and this season, too, is just next man up,” Shake Milton said after Wednesday’s shootaround. “So it doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup. As long as we’re staying strong in our principles and being very detailed about what we do, I think we have a good chance of winning every time we’re on the floor.”

Furkan Korkmaz, Georges Niang and Matisse Thybulle all figure to play more than usual. Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed entered the rotation in the Blazers game, too, although Andre Drummond should again be the primary backup center with Embiid available. 

LaVine vs. Thybulle 

Thybulle guarded Zach LaVine more than any other player last season, per the NBA’s tracking data. He was incredible in two matchups against a former high school opponent.

LaVine, a first-time All-Star last season, shot 4 for 18 when defended by Thybulle and committed five turnovers.

Seven games into the season, Thybulle is again posting outlier defensive statistics. Per Cleaning the Glass, his 4.5 steal percentage and 3.3 block percentage are both comfortably first among all NBA wings. He led all wings in those categories last year as well. 

Embiid deja vu would be tremendous 

Last time he played the Bulls at Wells Fargo Center, Embiid scored a career-high 50 points.

Chicago’s roster has radically changed since that February night. The Bulls picked up Nikola Vucevic at last season’s trade deadline, acquired DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball this offseason, and are off to an impressive start. 

In addition to Vucevic, another former Sixer might see some time on Embiid. Tony Bradley, who the Sixers dealt away in their trade for George Hill, has been backing up Vucevic.