The Sixers have reached a tough part of their schedule, and the degree of difficulty is going to get greater with 12 of their final 14 games on the road.

Thursday night against the Bulls, they got a taste of what they can expect the rest of the way.

The Sixers fought an uphill battle for much of the game before ultimately being handed their seventh straight loss, 93-82 (see Instant Replay).

Joakim Noah was sensational with 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocked shots. His frontcourt mate Carlos Boozer was also a beast, as he scored 11 of his 21 points at the foul line and grabbed 12 rebounds.

What makes Noah unique and such a pest on the court is that his game is based on a high level of activity.

“I think he has a unique skill set for a player of his size,” Spencer Hawes said. “He can handle the ball, make passes, make plays and definitely his motor is up there. If not the best in the league, it is definitely up there. It is something to be emulated.”

“Their front line was tremendous,” Sixers head coach Doug Collins said. “Noah was spectacular. He was the difference in the game. You throw in Boozer and the two of them had 44 points, 32 rebounds, 11 blocks and were 18 of 21 at the foul line.

“Once again, our defense was good enough to win. We had one more field goal and one more three and they beat us by 14 points at the foul line. So it is sort of the same old story.”

Noah made sure the Bulls came out on the right side of that story. The All-Star center set the tone right from the opening tip on his way to recording his third career triple-double and tying the franchise record for blocks in regulation.