(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls are trying desperately to get by with an injury-riddled roster and will start a three-game road trip Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bulls aren't sure if point guard Derrick Rose will return this season after another knee surgery, guard Jimmy Butler is out with an elbow injury and defensive-minded forward Taj Gibson has been dealing with a balky ankle.
Chicago is still jockeying for position with Cleveland atop the Central standings, sitting 1 1/2 games behind, and has lost three straight on the road. It will visit Charlotte and Oklahoma City on this jaunt and has a 19-12 road record.
In a 101-091 setback to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, Tony Snell paced the Bulls with 21 points, Nikola Mirotic posted a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Aaron Brooks netted 15 points for the Bulls, who have lost three straight and four of the past six games.
Bulls forward Pau Gasol recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds, while his brother, Marc, scored 23 points to lead the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies made 50 percent of their shots and held Chicago to 43.8 percent shooting.
"We are in a critical point of the season," said Pau Gasol.
The Bulls are third in the East standings.
Philadelphia will shoot for back-to-back wins Wednesday in the continuation of a five-game homestand.
The well-rested 76ers stopped a four-game slide and won for just the second time in 11 tries with Saturday's 92-84 victory over the East-leading Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks opted to rest Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll and Pero Antic, and shot 39 percent from the floor.
Luc Mbah a Moute and Hollis Thompson led the Sixers with 19 points apiece, and both Robert Covington and Isaiah Canaan scored 12 points for Philadelphia, which made just 36.8 percent of its attempts (35-of-95) and had a 55-42 rebounding advantage.
"I kept thinking I was going to take Hollis out, but he kept making shots," Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown said. "So we kept him in and he had a hell of a game."
The Sixers trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter before pulling within six at the break. They trailed 83-82 with about four minutes to go in the game and scored six straight points to pull away.
Sixers forward Nerlens Noel recorded 11 points and a game-high 17 boards. He was the first rookie to reach those numbers since Shaquille O'Neal back in the 1992-93 season.
Canaan is averaging 18.3 points over the last four games.
Philadelphia, which will also host Sacramento and Brooklyn on this homestand, has a 9-22 record at Wells Fargo Center and is in the midst of playing seven of eight games in the City of Brotherly Love.
The 76ers suffered a 118-115 loss to the Bulls on Nov. 7 in south Philly and Mike Dunleavy led the visitors with 27 points. Thompson had 21 points in that one for Philadelphia, which has lost four in a row and seven of the last eight games between the teams.
Philadelphia and Chicago will meet again April 11 at the United Center.