Tonight, it was offense that was optional.
The Sixers dropped their final game of a four-game roadtrip 105-92 to the Chicago Bulls Saturday night.
Tyrese Maxey led the Sixers with 20 points, but took 22 shots to get there. His supporting cast wasn’t any more efficient. Tobias Harris finished with 15 points shooting 6-of-16 from the floor, and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 11 on 5-of-13 from the floor.
It was the lowest scoring game for Philadelphia so far this season.
Demar Derozan was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- Despite some pretty good looks, Philly had a lid on the basket to start the game. They missed eight of their first nine field goals, and it took nearly five minutes for a Sixer not named Paul Reed to make a shot.
- Reed started the game well on both ends, a really good sign considering Nick Nurse opted to stick him on the bench during crunch time last night. Not only was Reed scoring early, but he swiped three steals in the first.
- As the game got underway it was pretty apparent that the Sixers were playing on tired legs. They shot 28.6% from the field and a whopping 1-of-10 from downtown. The lone three-pointer came from Nico Batum, who did not play last night. Luckily, Chicago wasn’t much better, so the Sixers only trailed by four despite only scoring 17 points in the first quarter.
- It was not a problem in the first, but the Sixers once again got beat pretty bad in the rebounding margin to grab the second. Chicago pulled down all seven of their first-half offensive boards in the second, but somehow only ended up taking one more shot in the quarter.
- Batum’s ability to get a three up without bringing the ball down at all is incredible. This one looked especially difficult as the shot-clock was winding down. Being able to not only take but make threes like that effectively is a rare skillset.
- Both offenses were considerably better in the second, not that it is saying much. DeMar DeRozan sliced his way with ease to the basket multiple times at the end of the half to help push the Bulls’ lead to eight at the break. DeRozan and Coby White were the game’s high-men with 15 points apiece.
- One thing the Sixers did do well in this game was take advantage of the fact that Chicago is one of, if not the most turnover-prone team in the league. Through three quarters, nine of the Bulls’ 13 turnovers were the result of steals.
- It’s not a huge surprise the Sixers got out rebounded, the Bulls started old friend Andre Drummond after all. But Mo Bamba’s inability to grab a board over Chicago’s small-ball unit of Patrick Williams and Terry Taylor is alarming.
- It’s really an off-night for Maxey when he can’t hit a free throw. His splits weren’t nearly as bad as Christmas night. He was 7-of-20 from the field. Maxey, a 90% free throw shooter, was just 2-of-5 from the charity stripe through three quarters tonight. The Bulls pushed their lead to nine as the third ended.
- It didn't feel like the Sixers’ night from the tip, but Marcus Morris Sr. getting whistled for boxing out cemented that feeling. He also got T’d for arguing the call, which is always tough to overcome when you’re fighting for every point.
- Once the Bulls pushed the lead to double digits, it was over for the Sixers. They didn’t have any reliable shooting to keep pace, and their star was not having the type of night where he could drag them across the finish line.
- While tonight was once again a rough night for Maxey’s efficiency, he put together quite the compilation of impressive finishes at the rim this week. It also feels just a little impressive that he was able to finish with seven assists given how poorly the team shot.
- After the Ben Simmons era, it was a bit odd to be on the other side of the hack-a-Shaq strategy. The Sixers tried that tonight with Drummond, but gave up on it rather quickly. No matter how many free throws Drummond missed, Philly just could not put the ball in the basket.
- The Sixers will have one last crack at these Bulls, as they’ll go at it again Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center. See you in 2024!