Dario Saric continues to worm his way into all of our hearts, making it harder to hate that the Sixers blew a good chance to improve draft positioning by winning against the Chicago Bulls, 117-107. Saric finished with an efficient 32 points (on 12-19 from the floor, 6-8 from the line) and notched 10 rebounds.
The Bulls olé-d the Sixers into the paint time and time again throughout the second and third quarters. The Sixers finished with 70 points in the paint, an assumed season high. Chicago’s perimeters failed to fight over screens, allowing mediocre players like Sergio Rodriguez and Shawn Long own the paint. Rodriguez scored 12 points, all in the first half, and he set up Long for 11 in the first half. Long finished the full game with a career-high 18 points.
In the third quarter, Saric owned the paint himself, hitting layups on the break and in the post. The Sixers managed 25 points before hitting a three in the quarter. By the time Chicago brought intensity on defense early in the fourth quarter, the game was out of hand.
With the win, the Sixers are now tied in the standings with the Knicks and a half game behind Orlando in the loss column. Orlando won on Friday decisively against a similarly faltering Detroit Pistons team.
- Jimmy Butler tried carrying Chicago on his back, with 36 points and 11 assists, but he had little help throughout the night. He even took primary responsibility for defending Saric throughout the fourth quarter to relative success. But no one else contributed, save for a fourth quarter shooting streak from Bobby Portis, and the urgency level for a team playing at home and competing for a playoff berth was just embarrassing.
- Devin Booker scored 70 for the Suns in maybe the best tanking performance in recent memory. The Suns still lost!
- Giving Rodriguez and Henderson 50 minutes in a late-season game is a bit of a head-scratcher. Justin Anderson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot combined for 30 minutes. Especially with Henderson’s achy hip and a day off tomorrow, I don’t see the logic in this.
- Michael Carter-Williams is just a bad player at this point. His inability to shoot has fully compromised the rest of his game to the point where he’s unplayable on a good team. His defense and passing can’t make up for the abominable shooting results.
- I would still rather give him a chance than Rajon Rondo, who I don’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole in free agency this summer.
- My favorite in-game moment involved a jump ball. The officials were trying to organize the players into position when T.J. broke the jump circle to correct Dario Saric’s foot positioning for the jump. Dario still lost the jump (to the shorter MCW) because he’s hilariously un-athletic. After the victory, T.J. poured Gatorade over Dario’s back during his post-game interview with Molly Sullivan. Dario said it was okay because they’re great friends. The bromance continues in full swing, and Saric is as adorably earnest as ever.