The Philadelphia 76ers' 102-90 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night was one of the most uneventful games of the season. That said, it was a solid loss, and at this point in the campaign, that's all that matters.
There wasn’t much energy down at The Center tonight - not surprising, given the circumstances. Both teams were horrible from the jump, combining to shoot just 4-for-12 from the field in the opening minutes of the first quarter. Justin Anderson - who finished with 17 points - was the Sixers only offensive threat early on, and the Bulls closed out the first period with a 9-0 to take a 27-17 lead.
The inevitable Sixers' run came midway through the second quarter: Chicago allowed T.J. McConnell (nine points, eight assists, six rebounds) to flourish on the pick-and-roll, Anderson continued to go full Simba, and suddenly... the 76ers were down just four with 2:50 left in the half.
The Bulls would enter intermission with a six-point advantage, and quickly jumped out to a 16-point third quarter lead that essentially ended any possibility of a comeback. The Sixers came within eight with 4:46 left in the third quarter, but they never managed to get over the hump and make the contest truly competitive.
Tonight, we got a little good (competent offensive threat Justin Anderson, aggressive Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot), a little bad (Jimmy Butler racked up a 19/10/10 triple-double while Nikola Mirotic hit six threes en route to a game-high 22 points), and a lot of ugly (Sixers shot 36.3 percent from the field and 21.2 percent from deep on the evening).
Most importantly... the Orlando Magic defeated the Brooklyn Nets 115-107 earlier this evening. Magic shooting guard/Sixers' covert operative Jodie Meeks scored 18 of his 20 points in the second quarter to lead Orlando to a tie with the 76ers in the standings.
A brief wave of panic washed over the crowd early in the fourth quarter tonight as McConnell twisted his ankle after getting tangled up with Butler. Timothy John would check back into the game later after being evaluated in the locker room, so there doesn't appear to be any serious issue.
The Sixers are back at it this Saturday as they host the Milwaukee Bucks in the next-to-last home game of the season.