The short-handed Sixers led rather comfortably for much of this game, but an offensive drought in the fourth quarter resulted in a tightly-contested outcome. Missing key pieces such as Tobias Harris and Danny Green did not help the Spectrum-themed Sixers in such a scenario.
The Sixers took control early behind contributions from Seth Curry and Furkan Korkmaz. Curry, being the main catalyst of the Sixers offense for the greater part of the first quarter, scored 9 points (4/6 FG, 1/3 3P). The sharpshooting guard was able to display his scoring abilities from all three levels-initially, a midrange jumper, followed by a driving floater, then an ATO three-pointer.
Although the Sixers were settling for jump shots early, they did so efficiently (7/13 from three in the first half). Korkmaz, in his second start of the season, ensured his presence was felt with stout defense when being targeted by Chicago’s Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. Additionally, the native of Turkey found success offensively through a three in the first minute of the game and a pair of fast-break dunks.
The Sixers bench, led by Georges Niang‘s 12 points (4/5 FG, 2/3 3P), effectively produced in their limited playing time in the first half. Joel Embiid, forced into a challenging matchup with former Sixer, Nikola Vucevic, tallied a quiet 8 points (3/9 FG, 1/3 3P), 5 rebounds, 5 assists in 15 first-half minutes.
In his first start of the season, Matisse Thybulle disrupted Chicago’s offense with two steals and one block in the first half. However, the Bulls’ centerpieces of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine were still able to get their buckets, scoring 16 and 13 points, respectively. The Sixers took a 58-44 lead into the halftime break.
Chicago closed the Sixers lead to seven points midway through the third quarter behind a 10-0 run. A timely spurt from Georges Niang ended the run as he responded with a three and sank another from long range late in the third. Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle ended the quarter with crucial threes. After LaVine beat the buzzer with a runner, the Sixers led 84-72, entering the final frame. LaVine and DeRozan scored a combined 23 of Chicago’s 28 third-quarter points, bringing their totals to 27 and 25 points, respectively.
The Bulls raced out to a quick 6-1 run to start the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to seven points, resulting in a frustrating Sixer timeout. The timeout did not halt Chicago’s momentum, as the Sixer lead was cut to two points shortly thereafter, inflating Chicago’s run to 16-3. DeRozan’s 33rd point of the night evened up the score midway through the fourth. The Sixers finally composed themselves and answered with a 14-3 run with two minutes remaining in the game.
However, a Lonzo Ball three with one minute left decreased Chicago’s deficit to four points. DeRozan then hit a contested fall-away shot to pull within one possession with thirty seconds remaining. After a Doc Rivers timeout, the Sixers patiently settled for a well-defended Curry midrange jumper, which dropped to create a four-point cushion with 10.7 seconds on the clock. Embiid denied DeRozan at the rim on a dunk attempt and was questionably whistled for a foul, which forced Doc Rivers to successfully challenge the call on the floor, essentially sealing the win.
The Sixers held Zach Lavine scoreless in the fourth quarter as he finished the game with 27 points (11/24 FG, 2/7 3P). Contrarily, DeRozan tallied 12 points in the final frame, ultimately ending with 37 points (13/22 FG, 11/12 FT). For the victors, Curry totaled 22 points (9/14 FG, 2/4 3P), while Embiid accumulated 18 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, one steal, and one block in 34 minutes. Defensively, Thybulle managed 3 steals and 2 blocks in a rigorous assignment. Off the bench, Georges Niang added 18 points (6/12 FG, 4/8 3P).
Doc Rivers’ squad advanced to 6-2 on the season and will look to extend their win-streak against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday at 7:00 pm EST. For more Sixers and other Philly sports coverage, visit PhillySportsNetwork.com!