Philadelphia 76ers Stat Monkey Brief: Sixers/Bulls (12/12/12)

Jrue Holiday is starting to get some All-Star buzz, but he didn't live up to the hype against the Bulls last time.

If you're looking for the Bulls perspective on this game, go to Andy Day's piece here: Chicago Bulls Stat Brief

Thanks to good coaching, manageable schedules and stingy defense, both the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls have managed to stay afloat in their divisions despite injuries to their stars. On December 1, the Bulls topped the Sixers 93-88, and Chicago has won three of four since. The two clash for the second time this season on Wednesday, this time in Philadelphia. What do the Sixers need to do for a better result this time around?

A Helping Hand

Much has been made of Jrue Holiday’s ascension this year - the fourth year guard is even starting to get some All Star buzz. Much of that comes from being the Sixers’ primary ball-handler for the first time in his career. Jrue’s usage rate is up to 25.6 percent, a career-high by a wide margin. For the year, Holiday is assisting on nearly 42 percent of his teammates’ buckets when he’s on the floor for his 8.9 assists per game.

In their loss to the Bulls two weeks ago, Holiday’s assist percentage (35.1) and total assists (7) were well below his usual figures. That’s often been the case for Philly this season - the Sixers are under .500 when Holiday’s assist percentage is at 40 percent or lower. Percentages aside, the Sixers are 8-4 when Holiday records eight or more assists.

Keep ‘Em Off the Glass

As has been the case with the Sixers’ last few games, taking control in the rebounding department will be key in handling the Bulls. Chicago has been crushing teams on the offensive glass, rebounding 31 percent of their own misses so far. For a team that doesn’t have a true creator, those extra positions are crucial. It’s been a total team effort, as regulars Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson all grab upwards of eight percent of available offensive rebounds when they’re on the floor.

While the Sixers aren’t anywhere near as strong as the Bulls in terms of offensive rebounding, with a 25 percent offensive rebounding rate, they’re no slouches on the defensive end of the floor. In particular, Evan Turner is a demon on the boards. He grabs over 20 percent of available defensive rebounds in his floor time, a ridiculous percentage for a perimeter player. In these teams’ first matchup, Chicago pulled down 57.5 percent of the missed shots and outrebounded Philly 50-37.