The Sixers returned home after a weekend loss in Miami with a chance to sweep the season series against DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls. Besides an early 8-point deficit, the Sixers dominated the Bulls throughout the contest. They tried to make it tough for DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine and did enough to keep the Bulls at arms reach from midway through the 1st quarter. The Sixers earned a 121-106 win against the Bulls and continue to try to put some distance between the two teams in the standings.
Joel Embiid Returning to Form
After a bad outing in Miami Saturday evening, Joel Embiid returned to MVP form against the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls were without center Nikola Vucevic, but it wouldn’t have mattered tonight. The Sixers’ game plan early was to get Embiid going and get him engaged on both ends. Chicago tried to stop Embiid with three different players(Tristan Thompson, Tony Bradley, and Derrick Jones Jr.), with neither of them having any luck.
Joel Embiid finished the first half with 19 points and then scored 19 points in the 3rd quarter. He was rolling from the start and wanted to establish his dominance early. The MVP front-runner ended up with 43 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Embiid improved to 11-0 in his career against the Bulls.
Harden Dropping Dimes
James Harden didn’t shoot well against the Bulls, scoring only 16 points and shooting 5-15 overall (1-5 from 3pt). Although his offense wasn’t there as much as it usually is, he was still able to facilitate, dropping 14 assists. He still draws a lot of attention and is able to create plenty of open shots for his teammates. He is really starting to build chemistry with Matisse Thybulle and Georges Niang. He has been encouraging Niang to shoot open threes and is finding Matisse on pick and rolls/ cuts. Harden is the best playmaker the Sixers have had in the Embiid era, and Harden will only become more comfortable with his new teammates.
Changes to the Sixers’ Rotation
Coming into tonight, it seemed like Furkan Korkmaz was firmly entrenched in the rotation, regardless of his struggles. Korkmaz has had a down year despite a good start to the season. With the absence of Ben Simmons, and injury issues with Shake Milton, the Sixers constantly changed Korkmaz’s role on the team. He was a ball-handler some nights and a catch and shoot guy another night.
Being a ball-handler allowed Korkmaz to do more when his shot wasn’t falling. With Harden and Maxey now the main ball handlers, Furkan hasn’t been able to adjust back to a quick, confident shooter. With Korkmaz not playing well, Head Coach Doc Rivers went to Shake Milton over Korkmaz early on, and it looks like Milton will get Kormaz’s minutes going forward. Milton has had some solid performances recently. If he can be a willing and efficient shooter, he will continue to be in the rotation. Second-year player Isaiah Joe even got some minutes over Korkmaz in tonight’s matchup against the Bulls.
The 76ers will host the Brooklyn Nets at home on Thursday evening for one of the most anticipated games of the season. PSN will have you covered from tip-off to the final buzzer.