The Chicago Bulls coughed up a 20 point lead but pulled together as a team and defeated the Philadelphia 76’ers, behind Jimmy Butler’s 28 points. Robin Lopez came through on the front line and scored a season high 21 points in the 121-108 victory.
Joel Embiid, the 76 ‘ers starting center, missed the game due to a knee contusion. His absence freed up Lopez to have a strong game. For the most part, the Bulls played much better than their two home previous outings to Atlanta and the Miami Heat. They came together as a team and got good contributions from the bench, which outscored the 76’ers, 49-15.
Butler had a much better game than he did against the Heat. He was more “typical Butler”- scoring, getting to the line, making plays all over the court. In one instance, he made a steal, and then went down the court for an easy dunk.
The Bulls had a 20 point lead at 45-25, but lost it when the 76’ers tied at 79-79 in the third quarter.
The Bulls responded with solid play as the game went on. The team shot 50.6% from the field. They made 57% of long-distance shots, well above their seasonal average.
Taj Gibson did not play due to a sore ankle. Bobby Portis got the start. Forward Nikola Mirtotic played better in this game, scoring 13 points in almost 26 minutes. Doug McDermott had 14 points and made several big treys. Guard Dwyane Wade scored 14 for the Bulls. And, the third “alpha”, Rajon Rondo, who appears to be heading out of the dog-house, played 21 minutes and had 10 assists to go with 8 points.
Forward Ersan Ilyasova led Philadelphia with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Robert Covington added 21 points. Nerlens Noel had 12 from the center position. C-F Jahlil Okafor was resting a sore knee and did not see action.
The Bulls have played well against the 76’ers and tonight the team displayed some unity.
The Bulls (24-25) climb to within a game of reaching .500. They head west to face Oklahoma City in a few days.