Tonight, the Sixers beat the Chicago Bulls on the road, 106-94.
In the second game of a strange, San Antonio-to-Chicago road back-to-back, for three quarters, the Sixers seemed destined to coast to an easy victory. This was especially encouraging given the fact that the blowout would result in lower minutes from the team’s stars, all of whom played at least 34 minutes a night ago in the overtime victory over the Spurs.
The Sixers reserves, unfortunately, had other plans.
As Doc Rivers began the final frame with no starters in the game — leading by an even 20 —things seemed to be well in hand. That’s when the Sixers played quite possibly the worst five minutes that a professional team can play, yielding a 24-5 run that insisted Rivers send in the starters once more with about 7 minutes left in the game. The lead shrunk all the way to 1, somehow. Once back on the court, however, the Sixers’ starters widened and then maintained the lead to ensure the team’s fifth straight victory.
In the win, Joel Embiid was rather poor on offense — a jarring sight amidst his MVP-worthy campaign. The big man scored only 13 points on 4/13 from the field, adding 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks. He was, of course, a game-high +29.
Seth Curry continued his excellent play of late with 20 points on 7/10 shooting, and his backcourt partner Danny Green tallied 14 points, himself. The due combined for 7/14 shooting from beyond the arc.
Much credit is due to Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, who both recovered from shoddy performances in San Antonio to buoy the Sixers’ win. Simmons scored 15 points on 6/7 shooting with 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks. Harris scored 21 points on a remarkable 10/13 shooting.
In the ‘Reasons The Starters Needed To Re-Enter’ category, the Sixers bench was a combined -68 on the night. Mike Scott was an impressive -13 in only 5 minutes. George Hill had a poor outing with only 5 points, 1 assist and 3 turnovers, and Dwight Howard was a -15 in his 14 minutes on the court.
Matisse Thybulle blocked a shot and stole a pass on the same possession, ending the night with 3 blocks and 2 steals on his ledger.
Furkan Korkmaz exited the game after only 5 minutes of play due to a sprained ankle.
A win is a win, as they say, but the shame of the fourth quarter collapse was that Simmons, Harris and Embiid each needed to play at least 33 minutes in a game that really should’ve been a laugher throughout.
Oh well, on to the next one.
Up next for the Sixers is another trip out west to face the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.