The Chicago Bulls lose their 38th game of the season Thursday night, 116-115 at home to the Philadelphia 76ers. Tonight marked the beginning of the Bulls youth movement, as the Bulls will use the last few months to evaluate some of their younger talent. The Bulls started Felicio and Nwaba next to Dunn, Lavaine, and Markannen. Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday were removed from the starting lineup and were made inactive for the game. The Bulls used Payne, Valentine, Zipser, Portis, Vonleh off the bench and committed to the youth movement they promised moving forward.
PHI: 33 CHI: 29
The first six and half minutes of this game was a disaster for the Bulls. Embiid and Simmons scored Philadelphia’s first 10 points on a 10-2 Philadelphia run, which pretty much foreshadowed the rest of the night. The Bulls looked sluggish to start with two turnovers in the first two minutes of the game. Philadelphia was getting most of their points from 3, hitting 5 threes in a row to start the game. This helped Philadelphia lead the game 25-7 with 6:45 remaining in the first. Portis and Nwaba got the Bulls run going, scoring the next 12 points for the Bulls. The 76ers hot shooting cooled down, finishing the quarter 1-6 after going 5-5 to start the game from 3. Portis, Nwaba, and Valentine help the Bulls finish the quarter strong, scoring 20 points combined to finish the quarter.
PHI: 34 (67) CHI: 40 (69)
The Bulls survived off 3s in this quarter. The Bulls went 9-12 from 3, scoring 27 of their 40 points from deep. Philadelphia had a lot of trouble guarding Portis, Portis scored 14 points while hitting four 3s in the quarter. Zach Lavine took advantage of the three-point line as well, hitting 3 of 4 threes in this quarter. The quarter was pretty much back n forth at a high scoring rate. The most anyone lead in the quarter was Philadelphia, which lead by 8 at one point.
PHI: 26 (93) CHI: 22 (91)
The Bulls struggled shooting the ball in this one. Bulls went 8 from 23 from the field, however did make 4 of 9 threes. The Bulls started the quarter like the 1st quarter. Turnovers, no pace no rhythm. Ben Simmons got Philadelphia going in this quarter. He scored or assisted Philadelphia’s first 6 made field goals. Simmons and Embiid scored 18 of the 76ers 26 points, Bulls had trouble guarding both these guys. Despite shooting poor and having trouble with Embiid/Simmons, the Bulls kept the game close. Defensively played well on other Philadelphia players. Nwaba, Lavine, and Portis helped keep the game close with their offense in this quarter scoring 17 of the 22 points.
PHI: 23 (116) CHI: 24 (115)
The Bulls defense was active to start the 4th quarter. The quarter was pretty much back n forth until the Bulls were able to build a 5-point lead with 4 minutes left. The Bulls were able to maintain a 5 point lead up until the 1-minute mark, leading 115-110. The Bulls lost the lead though, going 0-5 the last minute with one critical turnover by Valentine that cost the Bulls the game. The Bulls also took a questionable foul up 3, putting Reddick to the line. Which then Valentine turned the ball over very next play, causing a foul on Ben Simmons. Simmons hit 2 free throws to win the game. Portis scored 12 of the Bulls 24 in this quarter, while Ben Simmons scored 9 of Philadelphia’s 23.
Take from game:
The Bulls played well, especially for being down 25-7 at one point. They continued to fight their way back in and almost won the game. And might have won if it wasn’t for a bad pass by Denzel Valentine. Nice effort against a playoff contending team in Philadelphia. David Nwaba looked great going 3-3 from 3. He finished with 21 points with 9 rebounds in 32 minutes. He was active defensively but fouled out late in the game. Bobby Portis had the best game of his career. He shot 6 for 9 from 3 which isn’t sustainable but didn’t rely on 3s for his 38 points. He made himself a tough match up for Philadelphia inside and out. Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen struggled. Combined they shot 3-19, missed all their 3s, and only scored 8 points combined. Dunn also struggled guarding Simmons because of the height. Cameron Payne looked ok in his first game. Questionable shot selection but played with pace and finished with 7 assists. Felicio was in foul trouble all game and played just under 12 minutes.
Bulls could not guard Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid. Not a lot of players can, but the Bulls didn’t have a player with height and speed to bother and keep up with Simmons. Simmons got where he wanted and had his way with the Bulls defense. Embiid as well was a tough cover for the Bulls. Portis, Felicio and Vonleh struggled matching up with Embiid all night. Both combined for 60 points.